Shop vacancies go down in South Oxfordshire

The number of shops which are lying empty in South Oxfordshire’s market towns has fallen over the last year.

The annual South Oxfordshire Retail Vacancy Survey, a count of the number of empty shop units on a single day each year, took place in January and revealed that an average of just five per cent of retail units across Henley, Thame and Wallingford were vacant.

The low rate in South Oxfordshire compares very well to the national average, recorded by the Local Data Company, of 13.2 per cent of units vacant (measured in December 2014).

South Oxfordshire’s low shop vacancy rate of five per cent, down from six per cent for the last two years, highlights the good work carried out across the community to encourage people to visit shops in their local area, businesses to relocate to South Oxfordshire, and visitors from around the globe to pay the district a visit.

Schemes to entice visitors and help businesses include shop front improvement grants, the launch of the SouthOxBiz business portal website, greater promotion of businesses during festivals, shop window decoration schemes, and more information than ever on offer for tourists.

In Henley-on-Thames just 13 out of the 269 town centre premises currently lie empty. Thame currently has the lowest shop vacancy rate in the district with just six out of the town’s 186 premises lying empty, while in Wallingford just 12 out of 138 shops are vacant.

Cllr John Cotton, Leader of South Oxfordshire District Council, said: “While others are clearly struggling our close co-operation with businesses, town councils, and the wider community, has seen our market towns continue to thrive, with low shop vacancy rates and fast take up of premises that do become available.

“We’ll continue to do all we can to help new businesses take up these empty premises and ensure that our towns keep flourishing.”

Click here to view the full 2015 Retail Vacancy Survey.