High street improving in Bicester, says chamber

Bicester GVs.Sheep Street.

Bicester GVs.Sheep Street.

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BICESTER’S business leaders say the number of town centre shops standing empty has declined since the start of the year.

A survey of empty town centre shops was conducted early this year by Bicester and District Chamber of Commerce, which showed around 12 per cent of units were unoccupied.

The latest data collected by the chamber of commerce shows the proportion of empty shops has fallen to just over eight per cent, when taking into account occupiers choosing not to utilise their ground floor, those leaving units empty for strategic reasons, and those who are close to moving in.

Ben Jackson, chairman of Bicester and District Chamber of Commerce, said: “The results provide hard data, as against observational comment, and clearly Bicester is in a situation many towns would be highly envious of in the current economic climate. The chamber, along with many others have been working hard, not always publicly, to achieve this position.

“We will continue to do so to support the traders through the delivery of the town centre development.”

The Estates Gazette reports the average number of empty town centre shop units is one in seven, rising to one in three for many smaller towns.

The town chamber says Bicester has recently attracted investment from big businesses including Sainsbury’s, Iceland, Topps Tiles, Lidl, Aldi, Screwfix, Premier Inn and Countryside Properties.