Following a lame article by BBC Devon yesterday, claiming that “Ilfracombe has the highest number of empty shops in Devon with 20% standing vacant”, this lunchtime I counted commercial premises in Ilfracombe High Street.
I counted 135 premises – shops, banks, cafés, pubs and other businesses – open or active.
I counted 6 being redecorated or undergoing major refurbishment.
I counted 15 closed.
So of 156 premises, 9.6% are not in use, 3.9% are being worked on and 86.5% are in active use.
In fact, the new indoor market (counted as one) will feature 23 new traders when it opens on Saturday. I spoke to another trader who will be opening next week.
Now this just accounts for the high street area, running from Church Street through the High Street to Portland Street. I know that there are no empty premises on the seafront promenade. There is at least one empty shop in the small parade near Runnymede Gardens. From recent walks along the Quay and around Fore Street, there are not many empty premises there. I suspect the percentage of closed premises for the whole town will be even lower.
So please ignore the BBC.
Ilfracombe is open for business.
Come here to find butchers, bakers, greengrocers, newsagents, chocolate shop, dry cleaners, opticians, florist, fish and chip shops, cafés, pubs, hairdressers, gym, ballet shop, photographic shop, printer, nail bar, general grocers, gadget shops, toy shops, cinema, furniture shops, household goods, clothes shops, shoe shop, gift shops, stationery shop, post offices, barbers, jewellers, betting shop, banks, health food shop, pet shops, petrol station, travel agency, party shop, charity shops, book shop, arts and crafts shops, indoor market (from Saturday), chemists and more.
And that’s just the High Street.
Throughout the town we have more gift shops, restaurants, pubs and cafés.
According to the article, “LDC (the data collection company) said the data was compiled by walking through shopping areas and counting the number of empty shops and vacant units in shopping centres.”
I’d like to invite LDC and the BBC back for a televised walk around Ilfracombe in North Devon.
I also urge everyone to come to Ilfracombe and see for yourself.
I do most of my shopping here.