One shop in five empty in Portas pilot high street
ONE in five shops in Bedminster is empty, experts said ahead of a major drive to regenerate the area.
Around £100,000 has been given to the area after it was chosen as one of 12 pilots to be rejuvenated by TV shopping guru Mary Portas.
High street analyst the Local Data Company has been signed up to support the project, which will see public art and a rickshaw service introduced in Bedminster.
The LDC said Bedminster's vacancy rate was 19.3 per cent – five per cent above the national average, but well below other pilot areas including Margate, in Kent, where almost 40 per cent of shops are empty.
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The government grant will work out at £689 for every shop in the area, the LDC said. Independent stores make up 59 per cent of Bedminster's shops.
LDC director Matthew Hopkinson said the towns would become examples to other areas up and down the country.
Bedminster's £100,000 handout will go towards bringing empty shops back into use in North Street, East Street and West Street, tackling anti-social behaviour and making the area more pedestrian-friendly.
The plans include a trail of 25 pieces of locally made art, an outdoor theatre space and performances in "pop-up" temporary venues.
A bicycle rickshaw service could also be introduced, along with changes to car parking and making roads "shared spaces", where surfaces are changed and cars and pedestrians given equal priority.