Future of town looks good despite closure of Dunelm, says town chief
Leader of town BID says future is bright as new stores set to open
THE boss of Hinckley BID has moved to allay fears over the future of Castle Street after the announcement of Dunelm’s closure.
The homestyle retailer Dunelm is shutting up shop in January next year following a review of the firm’s estate, which appears to have concluded the Hinckley premises was too small.
Instead it is to concentrate on out-of-town superstores.
The outlet will close on January 21 2018. All 14 staff are being offered positions elsewhere.
Steve Wegerif is the director of the town’s business improvement district which includes all the shops and business in the centre.
He says that despite the closure, Hinckley’s town centre is in a healthy state with a shop vacancy rate of just 5% which is less than half the national average.
Steve said: “Compared to most towns, Hinckley has stood its ground well. Unlike many councils who have built shopping centres out of town which have sadly decimated town centres themselves, our borough council had the foresight to keep The Crescent within walking distance of our town centre, and this has attracted brands such as Sainsbury’s, TKMaxx, Superdrug, Wildwood, Prezzo, The Tarro Lounge and others who Hinckley has not seen before.
“Building a fabulous leisure facility in our Argents Mead town centre park (which itself recently won a green flag award) was inspiration.
“Cineworld could see the opportunity of a town that was going places and their palatial multi-screen cinema is extremely popular.
“The latest retailer to see the opportunity, Aldi, will soon be building in Stockwell Head - even Lidl are moving to larger, purpose built premises.”
Car parking has been a hot topic in town for many years.
Steve said: “Some may say also a spark of that we have been a victim of our own success. It is true that parking can be difficult to find at times – we have made the authorities aware of this and they are planning solutions accordingly.
“It is very sad to lose stores like Dunelm, but if their head office plan is only to keep superstores then so be it. Like the closure of the Heart of England Co-op Stores, this was a huge loss to Hinckley shoppers as it was to those in Nuneaton, Rugby and Leamington.
“However as smaller shops close, their premises seldom remain empty for long. We have had many new businesses open in Hinckley this year – the vacancy rate in Hinckley is just 5% - less than half of the UK average.
“We are fortunate to have a compact town centre with 150 plus retail businesses, the majority of them independent, all of which provide a wide choice and should fulfil virtu- ally any Christmas shopping list!
“Within the town we also have more than 60 restaurants, pubs, bars and microbreweries offering a huge choice of good food - as well as a host of take-aways for those in a hurry.
“We also boast more than 45 hair, health and beauty salons to make you both feel and look fabulous!
“If you don’t know where they all are, please email us (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we will rush you a free full colour 58 page ‘Essential Guide Hinckley’ in the post.
The BID are also planning several big events in the lead up to Christmas.
There is the first ever free Family Festive Fun Run around the town centre on Sunday December 10 from 10.30am to midday with a medal from Hinckley’s mayor for everyone dressing up in a Christmas outfit.
And there will be six days of Santa’s Glorious Grotto at Hinckley Leisure Centre on Dec 15,16,17, 21,22 and 23.
An artists impression of the new Aldi supermaket in Hinckley town centre. Aldi are in early stages of planning the store on a disused factory site on Holliers Walk