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Fewer vacant shops in Three Rivers despite multiple challenges for High Street

11th November 2021

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Despite the ongoing challenges of the pandemic and changing shopping habits, the rate of vacant shops across the main shopping streets of Three Rivers district remains below the national figure.

There are now 31 vacant units in the district – a vacancy rate of 9.7% compared to a GB rate of 14.5% from the British Retail Consortium. The new figures are revealed in the latest Shops Survey from Three Rivers District Council, which assesses the use of premises in the district’s retail centres and shopping parades, including any vacant units. The survey was conducted in September in order to track the continued impact of the pandemic.

The new report – released as the critical pre-Christmas shopping period begins – shows there are 17 vacant units in Rickmansworth, eight in Chorleywood; three in Abbots Langley; one in Watford Road and one in New Road in Croxley Green; one in Mill End and none in Maple Cross.  

Due to the ongoing redevelopment of the South Oxhey retail centre, the number of vacant units in that area at the time of the survey has been looked at separately, with 40 either vacant or still under construction – a rate of 63.5%.

Cllr Sarah Nelmes, the Leader of Three Rivers District Council, said: “So many High Street businesses have had a very difficult time since the pandemic struck and the impact of the multiple lockdowns was significant. Covid came at what was already a very challenging period and a changing landscape for High Street retailers.

“As a council we are looking at ways to support our High Streets in any way we can, and we should be reassured to see from these figures that as a district we have fewer vacant shops than the national figures thanks largely to the dedication of local business owners and their employees. I hope that as Christmas approaches people will support their local shops and do as much festive shopping in the district as they possibly can.”

The new report coincides with a number of new schemes being run by the council and partner organisations to support and promote local businesses, including High Street retailers. The council has been working with experts SaveTheHighStreet.org to provide tailored support to help get the most out of the pre-Christmas shopping season and get more customers through their doors.

The council also co-hosting a series of webinars with SaveTheHighStreet.org offering help and guidance for local businesses.