According to Dacorum Borough Council, there has been a significant decline in the number of empty shops in Hemel Hempstead town centre including Riverside, Marlowes pedestrianised area and Shopping Centre.
With the town’s ongoing £30 million regeneration plan of the main shopping area, and Capital & Regional Real Estate Investment Trust’s (REIT) recent £53.8 million acquisition of the Marlowes Shopping Centre and nearby commercial properties, confidence from investors are now much higher.
Capital & Regional REIT commented: “Hemel Hempstead is a strong south east commuter town located just outside of the M25, which has recently benefited from significant investment from the local authority. The opportunity exists to reposition this asset and potentially consolidate it with other retail properties adjoining the scheme, as part of a regeneration of the wider town centre.”
The shop vacancy rate was just 6% in July 2016, compared to 16.5% in October 2014, which means the reduction of 64%. Furthermore, the figure is much lower than the national average of 10.1%, according to the data released by Springboard in August 2016.
Councillor Graham Sutton, Portfolio Holder for Planning and Regeneration, commented: “Hemel Hempstead is proof that the British high street can bounce back if you create the right conditions for development. This news comes just as we’re preparing our entry for the Great British High Street Awards 2016 – and confirms that our Hemel Evolution regeneration is working.
“We should all be very proud of Hemel Hempstead. The transformation of the main shopping area, the new modern bus interchange, the Jellicoe Water Gardens restoration, The Forum, our new shared services hub and not forgetting our beautifully preserved Old Town.”
One of the companies recently relocated to the town of Hemel Hempstead is Little Bean & Co Play Café, who specialize in offering a family friendly café environment. Vicky Wareham, the owner of Little Bean & Co Play Café, commented: “We’ve moved to Hemel as there’s so much going on here now. It’s a great place to meet friends, let the kids have a play, do a bit of shopping and enjoy a coffee. Since the regeneration the town centre is really family friendly, so we fit in well.”
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