Empty shop numbers fall in Hemel thanks to town's Evolution project
The number of empty shops in Hemel has dropped by two thirds since the start of the town's Â£30million regeneration project.
Just six per cent of units were empty during July compared to the national average of 10.1 per cent, according to figures released by Springboard last week.
In October 2014, the Hemel rate stood at 16.5 per cent as Dacorum Borough Council’s Hemel Evolution transformation of the main shopping area began.
Now at six per cent, this shows an overall drop of 64 per cent in under two years.
Graham Sutton, portfolio holder for planning and regeneration at Dacorum Borough Council, said: “Hemel Hempstead is proof that the British high street can bounce back if you create the right conditions for development.
“This news comes just as we’re preparing our entry for the Great British High Street Awards 2016 – and confirms that our Hemel Evolution regeneration is working.
“We should all be very proud of Hemel Hempstead. The transformation of the main shopping area, the new modern bus interchange, the Jellicoe Water Gardens restoration, The Forum, our new shared services hub and not forgetting our beautifully preserved Old Town – it’s all come together.”
The move towards a modern café culture-style town centre recently attracted Little Beans & Co play café, persuading owner Vicky Wareham to relocate from Chorleywood: “We’ve moved to Hemel as there’s so much going on here now.
“It’s a great place to meet friends, let the kids have a play, do a bit of shopping and enjoy a coffee.
“Since the regeneration the town centre is really family friendly, so we fit in well.”
Large scale commercial operations have also spotted Hemel Hempstead’s potential.
Capital & Regional real estate investment trust explained its recent acquisition of The Marlowes Shopping Centre and neighbouring properties for £53.8 million earlier this year.