Town centre ‘is short of development space’

Wellingborough, Wellingborough BID ' town centre regeneration l-r Al Varilone ( Sherwood Dunham Solicitors BID Director), Joanna Chapman (BID manager), Matt Usher (Lloyds TSB BID Director). 'Monday 23rd  January, 2012
Wellingborough, Wellingborough BID ' town centre regeneration l-r Al Varilone ( Sherwood Dunham Solicitors BID Director), Joanna Chapman (BID manager), Matt Usher (Lloyds TSB BID Director). 'Monday 23rd January, 2012

Wellingborough is “a victim of its own success”, with high occupancy rates for shops meaning there is little space in the town centre for new stores to be developed.

Joanna Chapman, Matt Usher and Al Varilone from Wellingborough’s Business Improvement District (BID) say they hope Wellingborough will be a vibrant market town in years to come.

But they say the fact there are few empty shops leaves the town in a Catch 22 situation which means there is little obvious space for development such as bigger shops.

The Evening Telegraph reported yesterday that traders had carried out research which found big brands wanted stores of between 1,000 and 2,500 sq ft, but Wellingborough had few empty units which fit the bill.

Mrs Chapman said she thought the town would benefit from a well-known restaurant chain setting up.

She said: “I think we could do with a restaurant similar to Pizza Express, but where would they go in the town as it stands at the moment? Our vacancy rate absolutely bucks the national average, which is fantastic, but we actually have nowhere to develop a vision for ourselves because we are full.

“In order to progress for the future I think the council needs to be thinking very quickly.”

Mr Usher said he was also concerned about the rate of development and said the town was “almost a victim of its own success” because little space was available. He said: “We have got some good businesses that give people the things they want when they go somewhere like Northampton.

“Wellingborough has got people with disposable income, it’s just about getting people into the town.”

The three also said they would like to see a clearer vision for the market, with traders all in one place.

Mr Varilone said the BID members were also concerned about the look of some of the empty units in the town centre.