Workington's bargain shops will not spread - manager pledge
Last updated at 21:50, Thursday, 30 September 2010
THE man responsible for filling empty shop units in Workington town centre has pledged that there will be no more bargain shops.
The comments from Dave Fletcher, town centre development manager, follow concern from some traders that too many “bargain alley” style stores have sprung up in Workington.
The original vision for the £35 million Washington Square was to market it as a quality regional shopping destination to compete with Carlisle.
But the revamped town centre has seen a proliferation of cheap shops including Bargain Booktime, Home Bargains, The X Catalogue Store and Poundland.
However, WH Smith is due to open a branch in the former Civvy Street shop on Risman Place this month and KFC is looking to open a drive-through takeaway in the town.
Town centre developers are also in talks with major chains including Past Times, JD Sports and H&M.
Mr Fletcher said: “There are enough bargain stores. There will be no more.
“We don’t have or want charity shops in the town centre but there is a need for bargain shops.
“They are popular with the people of Workington. Hopefully more quality shops will be coming soon.”
But Martin O’Rourke, associate director of Washington Square developer Riddell and Mr Fletcher’s boss, refused to rule out more bargain stores.
He said: “We would be delighted with more high end shops but we would never say never when it comes to value retailers.
“It’s a difficult balancing act between occupancy needs and market forces and filling up the voids.
“If a value retailer came along with a good offer we would consider them because it’s better that than a vacant unit.”
Mr Fletcher said that he was 95 per cent sure that at least four of the town’s empty shops would be filled by Christmas, and traders have welcomed news that these are unlikely to be bargain stores.
Alan Moore, owner of Intrim Fitness Centre, on Murray Road Chambers, said: “There are too many but as the recession bites they see an opportunity.”
Ross Sinclair, owner of Sinclair Jewellers in Risman Place, said: “We are pleased with what we’ve got but I wouldn’t like to see any more.”
Alison Short, owner of Alison’s Attic on Murray Road, added: “We could do with a Waterstones or a Mothercare so we don’t have a town centre full of exactly the same type of shops.”
Meanwhile, the new Asda superstore is due to open on October 18 a mile from the town centre, but Mr Fletcher has denied that it will divert the 100,000 people who shop in the town every week.
He said: “I believe that the new Asda is a real coup for Workington and people from away will then come to the town centre.”
Mr O’Rourke added: “From what I understand it is mostly going to be food and so would not be in competition with Washington Square.
“Asda could attract more people from places like Wigton, Aspatria and Cockermouth.”
First published at 19:31, Thursday, 30 September 2010
Published by http://www.timesandstar.co.uk
Have your say
I strongly disagree, there should be more premium shops in the town centre such as Jd Sports which has been mentioned in the article because there are way too many baragin/charity shops they're just in competition with each other at the end of the day they're all the same. Give us some decent clothes shops.
I would like to say that I think that Workington has a nice mix of shops which cater for all types of people. It may not be as big a shopping area as Carlisle but it does well. I am glad to see a Past Times has opened recently and a WH Smith, I hope these stay.
View all 11 comments on this article