Only five per cent of shops vacant in Old Town Leamington says Portas Pilots team leader

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Efforts to regenerate Old Town appear to be bearing fruit according to figures
estimating the number of empty shops in the area.

The vacancy rate for the shops in and around Bath Street and Clemens Street, of which there are about 200, has dropped from around 21 per cent to a figure now closer to five per cent.

This is according to the Leamington Old Town Team, which successfully bid for the area to receive a £100,000 boost from the Portas Pilots project in 2012 and has since worked to start putting that money, and the positive feeling which came from the news, to the best possible use.

Team leader Jeremy Ireland (pictured above in Old Town) said: “It’s brilliant. It’s not just us who has done this, there has been other forces at play which have encouraged people to start businesses in Old Town.

“Everyone has been very positive and community-minded so that culture is there and that is the nature of the place. What has definitely helped is the good publicity the area has been receiving when there used to be some negativity.”

One success story in the area is the recently opened Dombey and Daughter shop in High Street, which has progressed as the area’s first community Heart-Up business pilot from sharing its floor space with the town team and temporarily stationed Severn Trent staff to now being an artists’ and makers’ space and fully fledged retailer.

Other Heart-Up projects soon to be launched include a ‘drop-in’ cafe in Clemens Street and an art supply shop to support the developing art scene in the area.

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