Task Force chair queries statistics
New figures show retail vacancies being filled
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