Town traders will be back after Bracknell regenerationBy Becky Barnes
January 17, 2013
Many of the traders whose shops will be demolished to make way for Bracknell’s regeneration are planning to stay in the town centre.
Businesses in Broadway and Crossway were given notice to quit in December and some have already vacated their units.
As shopkeepers share their futures town centre planners will reveal from today how they aim to create a ‘vibrant daytime and evening experience’ for shoppers at a series of public and private exhibitions.
The latest plans from Bracknell Regeneration Partnership (VRP) include artists’ impressions and details of how the scheme will work.
The remaining shops must leave by June 4. Bracknell Forest Council’s borough solicitor explained the six- month notice period has been given so shops could continue trading over Christmas and Easter.
Businesses have been offered help to find new premises and can contact the council for a list of vacant properties.
Michael Sibanda, owner of Your Essentialz, said retailers have been offered new units in Market Street.
He said: “There is not really space for everyone and rent will be double or triple. It is a challenging time, but in the long-run it is good.
“If we can get most of Bracknell’s residents doing their main shopping in the town centre it brings more footfall into the town so in the long-run it is profitable.”
Terry Pearce, director of The Look In Cafe for the over-50s, in Broadway, said: “Our lease ends at the end of March so we need to move quickly.
“We are in the process of trying to find ourselves a new home in the town centre and are confident we will find somewhere – we should know within the next few weeks.”
However, some businesses claim the regeneration is pushing out independent retailers.
A member of staff from Kall Kwik print store, Broadway, who did not want to be named, said: “We need to find somewhere but we are all in the same boat and chances are limited.
“BRP is not interested in us as independent retailers but we will make best endeavours to stay within Bracknell.
“We have all known it has been in the pipeline for many years so it is not a surprise.
“It will be a good thing as the town is looking very tired and it needs something.”
Each business earmarked for demolition has been invited to a private view of the exhibition and will be able to ask questions today.
Helen Barnett, BRP marketing manager, said: “Retailers in the north have benefited enormously from very low rents and short leases and they have reaped the benefits.
“There is not enough space for everybody in the town – especially as we are knocking down half of it.
“Lots of people have been offered other premises and have decided they are not suitable for them.”
The exhibition will be open to the public at Princess Square Shopping Centre opposite O2 and next to Burton from 11am to 6pm tomorrow (Friday) and Saturday from 10am to 5pm.