Task Force chair queries sta­tis­tics

New fig­ures show re­tail va­can­cies be­ing filled

East Kilbride News - - BUSINESS - Mark Pirie

East Kil­bride Task Force chair Craig Smith ad­mits he is “scep­ti­cal”about new fig­ures which show re­tail va­can­cies in the town are be­ing filled.

A study by the Lo­cal Data Com­pany (LDC) and the Uni­ver­sity of Stir­ling showed that the num­ber of empty re­tail units in East Kil­bride town cen­tre has dropped from 33 per cent in 2014 to 11.5 per cent in 2017.

In 2014 the stats showed EK had the high­est shop va­cancy rate of all Scot­tish towns.

Lind­say­field res­i­dent and lo­cal busi­ness­man Craig, how­ever, called for re­tail as a whole to be ex­am­ined to cre­ate a pos­i­tive fu­ture for the town.

“It’s dif­fi­cult to com­ment on the va­cancy rate, how­ever, with­out more time to con­sider, I’m scep­ti­cal about the fig­ures for EK,” he told the News.

“It’s good to see that the heavy in­vest­ment from the own­ers of the town cen­tre has re­sulted in a great look­ing fa­cil­ity.

“There are dif­fi­cult times ahead and on that ba­sis, more in-depth con­sid­er­a­tion should be given to the fu­ture na­ture of re­tail as a whole in EK for the town, its res­i­dents and its visi­tors.’

In con­trast, chair of South La­nark­shire Com­mu­nity and En­ter­prise Com­mit­tee and East Kil­bride Cen­tral South coun­cil­lor John An­der­son was de­lighted with the re­sults.

He added: “The coun­cil is de­lighted that the com­mit­ment and hard work of the town cen­tre own­ers, com­bined with a part­ner­ship ap­proach with the coun­cil and East Kil­bride Task Force, has de­liv­ered mean­ing­ful and sus­tain­able change in the town cen­tre.

“We hope this pro­vides a plat­form to bring fur­ther in­vest­ment and look for­ward to con­tin­u­ing with this close work­ing re­la­tion­ship.”

The Fed­er­a­tion of Small Busi­nesses (FSB), which has re­cently joined the lo­cal re­gen­er­a­tion part­ner­ship East Kil­bride Task Force, also wel­comed the fig­ures.

Andy Aird, leader of FSB in La­nark­shire, said: “It is very en­cour­ag­ing to see East Kil­bride’s va­cancy rate drop­ping quickly.

“There has been a con­certed ef­fort by pub­lic and pri­vate sec­tor or­gan­i­sa­tions to re­gen­er­ate the lo­cal econ­omy, and this is wel­come news to ev­ery­one in­volved.

“Small busi­nesses play a vi­tal role in East Kil­bride’s econ­omy as they rep­re­sent over 90 per cent of nearly 2000 com­pa­nies reg­is­tered in the town.

“Its busi­ness base has been in­creas­ing, and our mem­ber­ship con­tin­ues to grow in line with it.

“We are de­lighted to add our ex­per­tise to the East Kil­bride Task Force help­ing our mem­bers and the wider smaller busi­ness com­mu­nity and mak­ing East Kil­bride even more suc­cess­ful.”

Im­prove­ment Fig­ures show re­tail va­can­cies in East Kil­bride are de­creas­ing

Un­sure Craig Smith

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