New push to fill Swaffham’s empty shops
10:56 20 February 2013
A new group aiming to boost the vitality of Swaffham town centre is planning to identify gaps in what shoppers want and invite businesses to come to the town to fill them.
The Swaffham Shops Project was set up following concerns about the number of empty units and announcements that Superdrug, HSBC and Stead and Simpson were closing their existing branches.
The project, which includes members from Swaffham Business Forum, the town council and the Advance Swaffham Action Group, has drawn up a list of 18 actions they believe could help address the problem.
They include creating information packs on each empty unit to give potential tenants, encouraging the conversion of second and third floors into housing, and using vacant units to promote Swaffham events.
The group will also consider inviting existing landlords and agents to individual meetings, seeking help from local banks to support potential tenants, and asking Breckland and Norfolk County councils for incentives for new tenants.
Town councillors will decide next month whether to fund a £500 report giving the Swaffham Shops Project more data about the town.
Business forum chairman Chris Parsons said: “We are trying to market Swaffham among our competitors and go out to Norfolk and talk to other businesses and towns and try to promote Swaffham as Swaffham PLC, where you can come to do business.
“It’s trying to encourage the vitality of the town centre. To do that we need to have good data and understand who your competitors are, who your shoppers are and what are the gaps in your current supply.
“We would like to identify those gaps and approach businesses who might be interested in coming to Swaffham and fill that gap.”