Bognor’s shop vacancy rate deemed ‘a huge achievement’

Manager of Bognor Town Centre, Toyubur Rahman.Picture by Kate Shemilt.C140837-6
Manager of Bognor Town Centre, Toyubur Rahman.Picture by Kate Shemilt.C140837-6

The shops on Bognor’s London Road are currently fully occupied, something which hasn’t happened since records began, according to the town centre manager.

“Someone started keeping records in 2011, but some are saying it hasn’t been full since 2008 - when Woolworths went,” said Toyubur Rahman.“It is a huge achievement.”

Vacancy rates across the wider town now stand at 8.3 per cent - or 22 units of 262 - a rate which has been consistently falling since 2012’s high of more than 14 per cent he added.

The last space was taken up by Cell Repair towards the end of February, something which led to comments about the number of mobile phone retailers in the town but which Mr Rahman is keen to stress doesn’t worry him.

“We have eight,” said Mr Rahman. “O2, Carphone Warehouse, Vodaphone, EE and 3, then three independent businesses.

“There seems to be a misconception that we are overrun with them but we have more hairdressers, barbers and charity shops so I am not concerned about it.

“Mobile phones are something we reply on so much these days.”

However the arcade, which comprises of 20 units, contributes between 28 to 38 per cent of the total vacant units, in figures from an audit in January, something Mr Rahman hopes is set to improve.

He said: “They have obviously done a lot of work to improve their appearance following a lot arm twisting from me! And the results do look good.

“So hopefully this will generate more interest and get the units occupied.”

Flude are the commercial agents for the arcade with Savilies/Phoenix Beard as the managing agents and it is owned by Zurich.

Mr Rahman added since the work, which includes wraps on the windows and a repaint, has been carried out, Phoenix Beard have reported ‘there had been interest but nothing on the dotted line yet’.

“By contrast, Queensway that had 26 per cent vacancy rate in 2012 now has zero vacancies,” he said.

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