Future of the Silver Arcade looks uncertain


Thomas Simpson

High rent and un-negotiable business rates have contributed to the lack of business for shop owners in Leicester’s Silver Arcade.

The shopping centre, which opened on Friday October 17 after a £3 million refurbishment, has struggled over the past year, with many passers-by not even realising that it is open.

Natalie Powdrill, 33, manager of Hair and Booty, said: “Business is slow. It’s the lack of footfall, there’s just nothing downstairs to draw in people.

“I feel that we’ve been let down, when we opened here we were told that big flagship stores would be moving in downstairs such as Timberland and Dr. Martens, but nothing materialised.

“If I would’ve known this before I would’ve never opened here,” she added.

Rent is now negotiable in the Arcade, which is situated on Silver Street, in the hope of drawing in more customers, although the high business rates remain unchanged.

A shop assistant at Deli Flavour, who does not wish to be named, said: “We need more shops, the rent is also too high, if worst comes to worst then we would relocate.”

There are currently only ten stores out of a possible 22 occupied inside the arcade, none being on
the bottom floor, with at least two of the existing stores looking into relocating.

Peter Gardner, 33, director of Cocoa Amore, said: “There’s a scheme running nationally for empty units, where if a unit has been empty for 12 months you can apply and get 50% rate deduction for 18 months and that started in April this year.”

“The arcade isn’t helping matters and needs to be advertised more. I promote my business, the arcade should promote the Arcade, and they’re not doing that,” Mr Gardner added.

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