At this week’s Business and Economic Development Panel (Wednesday 9 February, 7pm) Councillors will receive a report demonstrating how well business in Brentwood continues to thrive, despite the slowdown in the economy.
An independent report into the 268 units trading in Brentwood has highlighted many strengths in Brentwood, not least the number of major supermarkets for a small town (Iceland, Somerfield and Sainsbury’s which has one of the biggest town centre shops in the country) working side by side with a wide variety of independent retailers.
Despite the national drop in demand for retail units, demand in Brentwood remains high, and is ahead of other local centres such as Basildon and Billericay. This is underlined by the lower than average vacancy rate, which stands at 10%, as compared to 13% nationally.
‘Any shop closing is a blow, but in the last few weeks alone we have seen many new businesses moving in, including the Fish Pedicure Spa, Nevada Bobs golfing and a new unnamed development in the former newsagents,’ said Chairman of the Business and Economic Development Panel, Cllr Phil Baker. ‘Some other shop units show evidence of being prepared in anticipation of also being let.’
‘Even Crown Street has only one empty shop, and there is much interest in that unit,’ he added.
The report also highlights the importance of the William Hunter Way ‘cinema’ development which will provide much-needed larger units to complement the existing shops, as well as creating hundreds of jobs during the building phase and afterwards in the cinema, shops and associated facilities.
‘This Administration is working with local shops and businesses and these facts show that it is working,’ said Cllr Baker. ‘It is such a pity that the Lib Dem group continue to attempt to undermine the good work by both retailers and the Council in these difficult times. I believe there is a bright future for Brentwood.’