Shopping decline hitting town centre

Westborough, Scarborough ... the town centres vacancy rate is higher than the national average.
Westborough, Scarborough ... the town centres vacancy rate is higher than the national average.

Scarborough’s town centre is losing shops and shoppers at a greater rate than the rest of the country, new figures show.

The vacancy rate for the precint in the town for the first quarter of 2018 stood at 13.75%.

Although this had fallen by 1% on the previous quarter, it is still higher than the national average of 11.2%.

The figures were revealed in a report to Monday’s full council meeting of Scarborough Borough Council.

The report’s author, Cllr Heather Phillips, cabinet member for Transformation, wrote that despite the drop in occupancy rates, the town was outperforming its rivals, such as Blackpool and Great Yarmouth.

The report also notes that people using the shopping areas in Scarborough has dropped at a much faster rate than the national trend.

Cllr Phillips’ report notes: “Footfall in the town centre is down 9.8% on the same period for the previous year.

“Nationally town centre footfall average has dropped by between 3% and 5%.”

A number of national brands and chains have closed stores in Scarborough town centre over the last decade.

In the wake of these closures, local, independent businesses have filled the void.

Cllr Phillips added: “During this quarter Thornton’s Chocolates have pulled out of Scarborough but local entrepreneur [Amelia Scholey of] Amelia’s Chocolates are relocating from Victoria Road to the old Scarborough News building in Aberdeen Walk with plans to diversify into a café and chocolate workshop.”