Town bucks trend as empty shop rates fall

Neptune, new furniture shop in the old Terminus Pub building, Hailsham
Neptune, new furniture shop in the old Terminus Pub building, Hailsham

A third shop has opened in Hailsham in as many weeks as the town battles to overcome the economic climate.

The town is below the 15 per cent national average for empty shops in the high street, with plans underway to fill a third of the remaining 15 empty buildings.

The number of closed businesses has steadily fallen since a high of 22 was recorded last June.

Hailsham Town Team met last November to voice ideas on the town’s economic recovery.

A six-man executive team made was created at the meeting to oversee the town’s revitalisation plans.

Mickey Caira, Business Enterprise manager for Hailsham, welcomed the latest shop opening as the town looks to attract independent shops to avoid it becoming a “Clone Town”.

He said: “We are very pleased the vacancy rate in the town centre is going down. The rate is moving in the right direction.

“The town centre should be a community space to bring people into it. We have to make ourselves unique, and independent shops are part of that. It’s got to have national chains but we don’t want all the shops the same as other towns.”

The Mayor of Hailsham, Cllr Jo Bentley helped open Neptune’s new Design Centre in North Street on January 17.

It is the third show room the manufacturer has opened in the country to display kitchens, dining and living, bedrooms, bathrooms and various homeware accessories.

Cllr Bentley said: “It’s great to see there are new businesses opening in the town centre in recent months and this demonstrates that the town is slowly becoming an attractive proposition once again, which is great news.”

John Sims-Hilditch, Neptune’s managing director, said: “Hailsham is well positioned geographically to serve both the local flourishing seaside towns as well as the residents of the surrounding county and market towns.”