The wave of businesses leaving Cleckheaton town centre is nothing to be concerned about, according to the town’s business chief.
Four popular businesses; On The Cheapside, Sands Cafe, Lily Vanilla and last week K Boutique all announced they would be closing its doors for trade over the past few weeks, prompting concerns about the health and future of the town’s high street.
But Spenborough Chamber of Trade President Mark Hepworth, himself a trader with Robert Openshaw Fine Jewellery, said that these things tend to be cyclical, and that some of the town’s empty units are already in the process of being filled.
The Chamber’s website shows nine units up for sale or let in the town centre.
Mark said: “There’s a lot going on behind the scenes and we’re not overly concerned by the empty units as they do tend to get filled quite quickly.
“We’re pleased to announce that the former Natwest bank site on Bradford Road is under offer having been empty since May last year.
“And Lily Vanilla, who decided a long time ago to leave their unit when their lease finished in August, have taken the decision to move on early because another business was banging its door down trying to move in.
“A lot of these things are down to personal circumstances. There is heavy interest in other units.
“The the overall experience of shopping in Cleckheaton is still a positive one. It’s not like they are the last bank or the last butchers - there are still four ladies’ clothing stores to walk between, for example.
“There used to be four jewellers in the town and now there are two. It’s the way these things go sometimes.
“Cleckheaton is well and truly open for business!”
Cleckheaton Councillor Andrew Pinnock said that he has huge faith in the town’s fortunes as a town centre, despite the outgoing trade.
“Generally speaking, these premises quickly come into use,” he said, “the bid advantage that we have here is that so many of our traders are local.
“They have businesses here and spend their lives here, so they have a vested interest in the fortunes of the town and in keeping their businesses viable.”
Business owners are also celebrating a Kirklees Council decision to retain free parking in the town centre after a petition to the tune of nearly 9,000 signatures was heard last night.