Looking round Waterlooville town you can’t help but notice the amount of empty retail units.
Over the past year, we have made numerous blog posts regarding plenty of these. Just a few of the more memorable being: Discz, Rainbow Toy Shop, Focus Sounds but of course there have been many, many more. It’s ironic that while the high street suffers, just a few hundreds yards over Maurepas Way, you would think Waterlooville is a booming town; a massive new Sainsbury’s store is being constructed, Marks and Spencer’s has arrived and a huge leisure complex planned.
So why so many empty shops? If the population of Waterlooville is exploding with the West of Waterlooville Development, why does the high street look so forlorn? There has been much discussion on “About Waterlooville” concerning rent and rates – and the suggestion that they are too high. But do we know what these elusive rents and rates are?
Obviously the main precinct (London Road) has its fair share of empty units, but it’s The Boulevard and Wellington Way appear to be suffering the most.
37% of the units in Wellington Way (August 2014) are either empty or a charity shop and this means only 63% of the shops are being used by full-paying retail establishments. It’s an even sadder picture over in The Boulevard; a staggering 57% of shops are either empty or a charity shop which means only 43% are in full-commercial use. (Charities can get up to 100% business rates relief.)
So do you want to know what rental and rates are for a Waterlooville shop?
The corner property opposite Costa on The Boulevard is £30,000 + VAT to rent. The rates for this unit are £19,000 per year. So that’s £55,000 just to obtain a property for 12 months. This doesn’t include the service charge for the upkeep of The Boulevard. Now add stock, furnishing and staff your shop. Add insurance, electricity, water and everything else needed to run a retail business. These are huge figures, and if you manage to get this far, once you’ve opened, you are expected to stay competitive.
So spare a thought for your local family run shop in Waterlooville and consider supporting local businesses and although it’s often been said, why not ‘shop local’?
Do you rent or have you rented a shop in Waterlooville? We’d love to know your thoughts.