Corby town centre is holding its own during what are incredibly tough times on the high street.
That’s according to manger Dan Pickard, who says that new tenants are moving into empty units in town and that progression to demolish the eyesore multi-storey car park is rapid.
Dan, who has worked as manager of the Sovereign Centros-owned centre for the past 11 years said that he is bringing new names to Corby at a time when other towns are struggling to stay afloat.
He said: “Times are tough out there.
“But because of the way we manage Corby Town Centre we don’t have the over-reliance on big chains. A third of our shops are independent and that makes us stand out from other towns.”
The town centre has recently lost Mothercare, Body Shop, Poundworld and Pep&Co, which has opened a smaller concession in the town’s Poundland store.
“Initially we had a drop-off in footfall when Rushden Lakes opened last July but things have turned around now and we are seeing year-on-year growth.
“We have a proactive and dynamic team working on attracting businesses to Corby.
“We’re in discussions with a firm who may take on the Mothercare unit and there’s a vape shop opening next to the new Warren James.
“We’ve had a busy year - the H&M was extended into part of the TK Maxx store and the car park’s opened.
“Sovereign Centros are very forward thinking and we knew we needed to create an impressive gateway into Corby if we wanted to get new businesses here and that’s what we’ve done.”
Unlike in other beleaguered towns, work to improve Corby is continuing apace, with the new surface-level car park open in Anne Street and the multi-storey demolished this week.
There will be another car park on the footprint of the multi-storey due to open in December 2018 and the old stairs with its iconic lift shaft will be retained become emergency access for people in the flats above Willow Place.
Work is ongoing to find interested retailers for the Market Walk East scheme, which has outline planning permission for three large units on a grassed area between the car park and the Saxon Crown.
Dan said: “We are realistic. The economic situation is tough. But that doesn’t mean we’re not working hard to find retailers for those units.”
A new convenience store will be opened in the former Greenwoods unit next month by the people who own Spencer Court News.
Manager Sarah Darlow Stearn said: “We’ve decided to expand.
“We’ll be operating under the Best One banner and there’ll be a full range of convenience goods as well as a deli and coffee-to-go.
“We’ll have all the usual newspapers and lottery.”