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Shutters going up in once-booming street
A city centre street once described as “booming” is now littered with empty shops and some remaining retailers in the area fear future closure if trade does not pick up.
Some traders on Market Street and its vicinity feel the delay to the Westfield plan and the amount of empty shops is affecting business.
Antonio Barbiero, owner of Pizza Pieces in Market Street, previously told The Telegraph & Argus in May that he might be forced to close his business this month unless construction work began on the Broadway site, from where he was forced to move seven years ago.
He said: “I was going to leave at the beginning of this month but I’ve asked my landlord to give us three more months to give Westfield a chance to start some work. Bradford Council has got to do something about it.
“If Westfield don’t come and put a shopping centre here this city will die slowly. All these empty shops on this street don’t help either it just kills everything else near it.”
As reported in yesterday’s T&A, The Early Learning Centre store on Market Street is closing down as part of the national closures by Mothercare.
Val Summerscales, secretary of Bradford Chamber of Trade, said: “I think Market Street is suffering as much as most with the delay of Westfield shopping centre.”
In nearby Broadway , just one street away from Market Street, DKZ ‘Designer Kidz’ wear is displaying a closing down sale sign.
Meanwhile, George Demetriou, owner of The Acropolis Cafe, on Broadway, which has been trading in Bradford since 1960, also fears closure if trade does not pick up.
The rates of the empty shops, which are set by the national Government, have been highlighted by other shop owners as a contributor to their continued vacancy.
Shafkat Khan, owner of The Fresh Filling Sandwich Bar which opened two weeks ago on Market Street, said business was going well so far, but feels the rates do not help new businesses when they are starting out.
He said: “I have put an appeal in to try and get some relief for being a new business.”
Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, whose portfolio includes employment, skills and culture, said: “The city centre is one of our top priorities; Market Street is a key street in the area. We have the Regional Growth Fund which will help businesses, and we are putting on a lot of events in the City Park which is regenerating trade.
“It is a difficult time to be a retailer but we are doing our best to support them to create the right environment to do business.”