Your view: Worries over empty shops across Britain

19/02/13

Boarded up shops in Margate, Kent
Image caption Margate is an example of a small UK town with a high number of empty shops

The West Midlands, Wales and north-east of England have been named as the areas of Britain with the highest proportion of empty shops.

The Local Data Company (LDC) surveyed nearly 280-thousand retail and leisure premises last year.

It found the average shop vacancy rate across Britain dropped 0.1 per cent to 14.2 per cent, compared to 2011.

LDC director Matthew Hopkinson said the drop wasn't a true reflection of what's happening on the High Street.

'Cause for concern'

"Whilst the national rate has remained stable there is very much cause for concern," he said.

"There's been a drawdown of chain retailers to fewer locations (often out of town), a recent rise in administrations and the significant increase in online sales (forecasted to be 30% by 2020 from 11% today)."

Newsbeat visited Margate in Kent, singled out as one of the smallest towns in the UK with the highest number of empty shops.

Dez Byatt, 17, college student

17-year-old college student Dez Byatt

"I don't even like shopping here. You see nothing but boarded up places, loads of dirt and loads of mess.

"All the good places are outside of Kent."

Geraldine Lindsay-Yule, 15, school student:

15-year-old student Geraldine Lindsay-Yule

"It's really annoying - you go out, expecting to get good stuff in the shops and they're either closed or boarded up.

"There isn't a positive atmosphere here in Margate.

Conor Gorham, 18, care worker

18-year-old care worker Conor Gorham

"There are literally no shops, everything's closed down. Most of the shops are boarded up - it's like a ghost town here.

"It would be nice to have better shops to encourage more people into the area."

Empty hot-spots

The LDC visited more than 600 towns and cities across Britain for this research.

It found that Stockport, Walsall and Grimsby are the top three largest towns with the highest rates of empty shops.

London, Yorkshire and the Humber and the East Midlands saw their shop vacancy figures fall though which suggests people are choosing to spend money in these areas.

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