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‘Regeneration’ shops empty after a year
SHOPS in a £14million development hailed as the start of the Pitsea regeneration have been standing empty for a year.
The Station Lane development of 121 one and two-bedroom flats was opened last December. Five shops were also built at the bottom of them, but only one has been filled.
Councillors hailed the scheme, between Pitsea’s Tesco Extra and the town centre, as the start of huge changes.
The £30million Pitsea regeneration, which will be completed next year, has been 15 years in the making. It includes a Morrisons supermarket, a new market area at Northlands Pavement and a new Aldi store.
Aidan McGurran, Labour councillor for Pitsea South East, is concerned the units have not been filled.
He said: “It’s a real worry. We don’t want to see business units empty for any length of time.
“The problem with empty buildings is they often lead to social problems.
“We all want to see a successful regeneration because it’s long overdue, but this is a bit of a disappointing start. It doesn’t inspire confidence.
“The economy is still not very good, so it’s not the best time for businesses to start or expand.
The council needs to be a bit more innovative or consider lowering rents if we want to get these units filled.”
Chelmsford-based commercial estate agent Robert Dewar is looking for traders to rent the units or buy them outright.
He added: “One of the priorities of the regeneration was to increase the number of houses, and the Station Lane development has succeeded in that aspect.
“It’s disappointing the commercial units are still not occupied after a year, but there may be reasons why. We need to look at the circumstances.
“As the regeneration concludes, wewould expect the level of interest to increase fairly rapidly.
There are options for all sorts of traders.”
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