Could small chains save Freshney Place?
With Black and White Shoes reopening in the shopping centre this week, many are wondering whether the redevelopment and high street brands are really necessary for the future of Freshney Place, or whether with the right support independent stores could keep the facility afloat.
Council Leader, Cllr Philip Jackson, said: “We have a unique opportunity here to offer Grimsby Town Centre a new future and that is what we are driving to achieve. People need a good, healthy, and vibrant town centre, which offers day and evening attractions.
For context, Freeman Street market, which was awarded a major national award and named the best small indoor market in Britain in February, operates a plethora of independent stalls and businesses.
The change in the market was felt by nearby businesses, as The Caxton Theatre, Grimsby Central Hall, and The Regal have noticed a change in the street.
As for the precinct plans, they were received with mixed reactions:
“I hope they will be able to offer more affordable rents, there are many empty shops there now.” one user commented.
“Town Centres have been in decline for years and I honestly don’t think they will ever recover. Ours like many others isn’t appealing in any way. Lots of shops closed down and full of undesirables. A lot of work needed to make people want to visit them.” another added.
“If they buy it, then what they need to do is offer people who want to start a business either free rent for a year or no rates etc, give people a fighting chance of making a success of starting a business.” a user said.
Grimsby town centre serves a wide retail catchment population of more than 300,000 and retains an above-average level of shoppers compared to other smaller town centres, according to national retail data.
In conclusion, a well-established focal point, coinciding with the development, could Freshney Place house local independent businesses, and could small chains save the shopping centre?
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