Council says no to pop up shops

Erica Fowers, Steve Stuart and Cliff Fowers at the opening of Carry On Vintage, which was a pop-up shop in the town

Erica Fowers, Steve Stuart and Cliff Fowers at the opening of Carry On Vintage, which was a pop-up shop in the town

First published in News

SWINDON Council has rejected the idea of pop-up shops as a method of bringing life to the town centre.

Instead, they have committed to the plan of using a grant of £10,000 from the Mary Portas project to develop themed markets throughout the year to attract shoppers.

The move has brought criticism from the Labour Group who say pop-up shops – traders who set up in vacant premises on reduced rents – would be a great way of filling empty units and argue there is demand from traders eager to fill the spaces.

However, this has been disputed by the cabinet member for regeneration who says the town centre is on the up and also questions the economic viability of pop-up shops.

Labour’s Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for North Swindon, Coun Mark Dempsey (Lab, Walcot and Park North), says he has been in regular contact with people eager to open pop-up shops who are disappointed at the decision.

He said: “I share people’s disappointment that once again the Tories have failed to take action to help breathe new life into Swindon town centre. “Across Swindon people say the same thing – that in the town centre the Tories have failed. “You can visibly notice the increase in vacant units on Regent Street and Fleet Street. Some areas are becoming a ghost town.

“That’s why we need pop-up shops as part of a plan to regenerate the town centre. “Pop-up shops bring empty shops back to life, they get new businesses going, and they unleash our young retail entrepreneurs on to our high street.

“I have been approached by a range of people that are really keen to make pop-up shops a reality. “I passed these onto the Tories in the spirit of cross party working, but they have done nothing. And the decision by cabinet shows how on the town centre, the Tories are out of touch.”

This point of view is disputed by Coun Garry Perkins (Con, Shaw), the cabinet member for regeneration, who believes that talking down the town centre will not help traders.

He said: “We have invested a lot in growing the town centre, so to say we have abandoned it is not true. Talking down the town centre is what causes problems.

“There has been significant investment in the area. You only have to look at Regent Circus to see this. “Footfall in the town centre is up on the previous year, so it is simply not true to say the town centre is failing.”

Coun Perkins also said there are a number of reasons why he does not believe pop-up shops are a viable option for Swindon.

“There is little evidence in the long-run that pop-up shops can hold their own when opened up to a full market,” he said.

“In Calne there were three pop-ups which closed shortly after having to run in a normal business market.

“Shops do not stay empty in Swindon for that long. Only 15.8 per cent of shops in the town centre are empty now compared with 21.3 per cent last year.”

Comments (17)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

7:15am Fri 7 Feb 14

Wildwestener says...

So let's get this straight, the so called free market Tories are not allowing entrepeneurs to set up pop up shops, instead they want a Soviet style central command style approach with dictats on "Themes" for markets. i.e. they will dictate what can be shopped and when, rather than allowing the market to work it out. The Labour Party (rightly) attack them for this.
The World's gone mad!
So let's get this straight, the so called free market Tories are not allowing entrepeneurs to set up pop up shops, instead they want a Soviet style central command style approach with dictats on "Themes" for markets. i.e. they will dictate what can be shopped and when, rather than allowing the market to work it out. The Labour Party (rightly) attack them for this. The World's gone mad! Wildwestener
  • Score: 6

7:26am Fri 7 Feb 14

GalaxyMan says...

Pop up's do not work. Beds of Heaven was one and they also had 2 other units as pop-ups at reduced rents (hardly fair on those paying full rents!) and they quickly went pop. The problem is too many of these pop-ups are little better than market traders with a big idea and in the more cut and thrust town centre can not survive.
The Council are right to put a stop to it. No matter what a Parks counsellor with big ambitions might think.
Pop up's do not work. Beds of Heaven was one and they also had 2 other units as pop-ups at reduced rents (hardly fair on those paying full rents!) and they quickly went pop. The problem is too many of these pop-ups are little better than market traders with a big idea and in the more cut and thrust town centre can not survive. The Council are right to put a stop to it. No matter what a Parks counsellor with big ambitions might think. GalaxyMan
  • Score: 4

8:17am Fri 7 Feb 14

house on the hill says...

Still have no idea why anyone goes into the town centre to shop when you have the Outlet, out of town areas and the internet? And a close proximity to other far nicer towns as well. It is dying, so why are we trying to spend money on something clearly past its sell by date?
Still have no idea why anyone goes into the town centre to shop when you have the Outlet, out of town areas and the internet? And a close proximity to other far nicer towns as well. It is dying, so why are we trying to spend money on something clearly past its sell by date? house on the hill
  • Score: 10

9:31am Fri 7 Feb 14

EmmBee says...

Surely, *any* shop is better than nothing -and as for the comment above about market traders, everyone's got to start somewhere. Make the lease 6 months max, in that time most ventures will know whether they are going to sink or swim.
Surely, *any* shop is better than nothing -and as for the comment above about market traders, everyone's got to start somewhere. Make the lease 6 months max, in that time most ventures will know whether they are going to sink or swim. EmmBee
  • Score: 7

9:44am Fri 7 Feb 14

Wildwestener says...

GalaxyMan wrote:
Pop up's do not work. Beds of Heaven was one and they also had 2 other units as pop-ups at reduced rents (hardly fair on those paying full rents!) and they quickly went pop. The problem is too many of these pop-ups are little better than market traders with a big idea and in the more cut and thrust town centre can not survive.
The Council are right to put a stop to it. No matter what a Parks counsellor with big ambitions might think.
So only those already in the game and with shedloads of money should be able to start up new businesses in the town centre which has many empty properties. Thank gawd you are not in charge of business development in the town centre.... or maybe you are
[quote][p][bold]GalaxyMan[/bold] wrote: Pop up's do not work. Beds of Heaven was one and they also had 2 other units as pop-ups at reduced rents (hardly fair on those paying full rents!) and they quickly went pop. The problem is too many of these pop-ups are little better than market traders with a big idea and in the more cut and thrust town centre can not survive. The Council are right to put a stop to it. No matter what a Parks counsellor with big ambitions might think.[/p][/quote]So only those already in the game and with shedloads of money should be able to start up new businesses in the town centre which has many empty properties. Thank gawd you are not in charge of business development in the town centre.... or maybe you are Wildwestener
  • Score: 8

9:56am Fri 7 Feb 14

Hmmmf says...

Labour's parliamentary candidate needs to visit the town centre and open his eyes; there are plenty of young entrepreneurs wandering around unleashed doing deals all over the place, and many satisfied customers sat on the benches consuming product.
Labour's parliamentary candidate needs to visit the town centre and open his eyes; there are plenty of young entrepreneurs wandering around unleashed doing deals all over the place, and many satisfied customers sat on the benches consuming product. Hmmmf
  • Score: 3

11:23am Fri 7 Feb 14

swindondad says...

Those "entrepreneurs" who want to start up in Swindon town center with a low rent / short term contract need look no further than the tented market. Rents from £20 a week.

A low cost way to test your idea / build up a customer base.

http://www.swindonto
wncentre.co.uk/listi
ng.asp?listID=241
Those "entrepreneurs" who want to start up in Swindon town center with a low rent / short term contract need look no further than the tented market. Rents from £20 a week. A low cost way to test your idea / build up a customer base. http://www.swindonto wncentre.co.uk/listi ng.asp?listID=241 swindondad
  • Score: 4

11:46am Fri 7 Feb 14

Davey Gravey says...

I don't think it is fair to give some reduced rent whilst others pay full whack. That said something needs to be done to get shops filled and people shopping.
I don't think it is fair to give some reduced rent whilst others pay full whack. That said something needs to be done to get shops filled and people shopping. Davey Gravey
  • Score: -3

1:28pm Fri 7 Feb 14

house on the hill says...

Davey Gravey wrote:
I don't think it is fair to give some reduced rent whilst others pay full whack. That said something needs to be done to get shops filled and people shopping.
Why not, loads get cheap rent for their houses while others have to pay the full price but that is fair???

the question to ask is do people actually want a town centre to shop in with all its parking and congestion problems, or are habits changing and they prefer out of town easier to get to places and the internet? If the answer is the latter, why spend money on something that is not wanted and wont be used anyway? Surely the answer to that should come first?
[quote][p][bold]Davey Gravey[/bold] wrote: I don't think it is fair to give some reduced rent whilst others pay full whack. That said something needs to be done to get shops filled and people shopping.[/p][/quote]Why not, loads get cheap rent for their houses while others have to pay the full price but that is fair??? the question to ask is do people actually want a town centre to shop in with all its parking and congestion problems, or are habits changing and they prefer out of town easier to get to places and the internet? If the answer is the latter, why spend money on something that is not wanted and wont be used anyway? Surely the answer to that should come first? house on the hill
  • Score: 3

2:20pm Fri 7 Feb 14

Richard Symonds says...

Fact 1 The Council owns property in the Centre of town and it is EMPTY! Why?

Fact 2 They make no attempt to bring the cost of Rented Property in the Centre of town by filling those empty properties it owns at AFFORDABLE RENTS

Fact 3 The Centre will continue to decline whilst we find ourselves filling it with £ shops.

Where is the Economic Development Team trying to stimulate Economic Interest in the Town Centre?

Garry Perkins tells us we are leading the Country out of recession so why are there any empty shops available in the centre of Town. During my last visits to Watford and St Albans town centres there were NO empty shops, so does Garry Perkins live in the same world as the rest of us or is he convinced by own BS?
Fact 1 The Council owns property in the Centre of town and it is EMPTY! Why? Fact 2 They make no attempt to bring the cost of Rented Property in the Centre of town by filling those empty properties it owns at AFFORDABLE RENTS Fact 3 The Centre will continue to decline whilst we find ourselves filling it with £ shops. Where is the Economic Development Team trying to stimulate Economic Interest in the Town Centre? Garry Perkins tells us we are leading the Country out of recession so why are there any empty shops available in the centre of Town. During my last visits to Watford and St Albans town centres there were NO empty shops, so does Garry Perkins live in the same world as the rest of us or is he convinced by own BS? Richard Symonds
  • Score: 1

2:39pm Fri 7 Feb 14

Hmmmf says...

Richard Symonds wrote:
During my last visits to Watford and St Albans town centres there were NO empty shops, so does Garry Perkins live in the same world as the rest of us or is he convinced by own BS?

No, Fact 4, he lives in Swindon, which (Fact 5) is not in Watford or St Albans.
Fact 6. Any young entrepreneur worth the name is already making a bundle with shops on eBay, Amazon, Gumtree, et al. That's the technology they grew up with and that's the future of shopping. Why pay enormous overheads for fixed premises and rely entirely on ever-decreasing footfall when you can run your retail business from a laptop in the spare room and capture a slice of global market share?
[quote][p][bold]Richard Symonds[/bold] wrote: During my last visits to Watford and St Albans town centres there were NO empty shops, so does Garry Perkins live in the same world as the rest of us or is he convinced by own BS?[/quote] No, Fact 4, he lives in Swindon, which (Fact 5) is not in Watford or St Albans. Fact 6. Any young entrepreneur worth the name is already making a bundle with shops on eBay, Amazon, Gumtree, et al. That's the technology they grew up with and that's the future of shopping. Why pay enormous overheads for fixed premises and rely entirely on ever-decreasing footfall when you can run your retail business from a laptop in the spare room and capture a slice of global market share? Hmmmf
  • Score: 1

3:31pm Fri 7 Feb 14

beach1e says...

shops don't stay empty in Swindon for long? how long has the one near the BHS been empty for? since it was built maybe?
one of the reasons Swindon town is dead is because its a pain to get to if you live north of the town, it also seems to be a magnet for dossers and beggars, it has a terrible atmosphere. there are far nicer areas with far better shopping in Bath and Cirencester.
shops don't stay empty in Swindon for long? how long has the one near the BHS been empty for? since it was built maybe? one of the reasons Swindon town is dead is because its a pain to get to if you live north of the town, it also seems to be a magnet for dossers and beggars, it has a terrible atmosphere. there are far nicer areas with far better shopping in Bath and Cirencester. beach1e
  • Score: 12

4:59pm Fri 7 Feb 14

house on the hill says...

beach1e wrote:
shops don't stay empty in Swindon for long? how long has the one near the BHS been empty for? since it was built maybe?
one of the reasons Swindon town is dead is because its a pain to get to if you live north of the town, it also seems to be a magnet for dossers and beggars, it has a terrible atmosphere. there are far nicer areas with far better shopping in Bath and Cirencester.
Spot on yes.
[quote][p][bold]beach1e[/bold] wrote: shops don't stay empty in Swindon for long? how long has the one near the BHS been empty for? since it was built maybe? one of the reasons Swindon town is dead is because its a pain to get to if you live north of the town, it also seems to be a magnet for dossers and beggars, it has a terrible atmosphere. there are far nicer areas with far better shopping in Bath and Cirencester.[/p][/quote]Spot on yes. house on the hill
  • Score: 7

5:19pm Fri 7 Feb 14

DLP OldTown says...

Just look at the Rent and Rate prices in Swindon and its easy to see why there are so many empty shops.
We need lower rents for all, let in the Ice cream/doughnut/flowe
r sellers. bring down the parking.
Swindon town used to be a good place to shop - ok it was many years ago.
Pop up shops should be encouraged, sometimes people need a helping hand to get going and not everyone wants to buy or sell online.
Look at Bath, Cirencester, Devizes Cardiff they all have small independent shops, why not Swindon.
Just look at the Rent and Rate prices in Swindon and its easy to see why there are so many empty shops. We need lower rents for all, let in the Ice cream/doughnut/flowe r sellers. bring down the parking. Swindon town used to be a good place to shop - ok it was many years ago. Pop up shops should be encouraged, sometimes people need a helping hand to get going and not everyone wants to buy or sell online. Look at Bath, Cirencester, Devizes Cardiff they all have small independent shops, why not Swindon. DLP OldTown
  • Score: 6

9:41pm Fri 7 Feb 14

faatmaan says...

whichever way you view it, footfall has been poor for many years now, but remember footfall does not equate to profit and expenditure, with people being selective with their purchases, if any, in years gone by when I was young, on a Saturday morning there was throngs of people going about their shopping, there wold be Macfisheries, a greengrocer, butchers and so on, the town centre only now has convenience style shops, clothes, coffee shops and pubs,more geared up for the leisure market than the average workers needs
whichever way you view it, footfall has been poor for many years now, but remember footfall does not equate to profit and expenditure, with people being selective with their purchases, if any, in years gone by when I was young, on a Saturday morning there was throngs of people going about their shopping, there wold be Macfisheries, a greengrocer, butchers and so on, the town centre only now has convenience style shops, clothes, coffee shops and pubs,more geared up for the leisure market than the average workers needs faatmaan
  • Score: 1

8:47am Sat 8 Feb 14

Davethered says...

I seem to remember New look opening on Weymouth sea front as a pop up shop . Look at them now.
I seem to remember New look opening on Weymouth sea front as a pop up shop . Look at them now. Davethered
  • Score: 0

10:17pm Sat 8 Feb 14

1 2 Could B says...

SBC
Swindon Borough Clownschool strikes again
SBC Swindon Borough Clownschool strikes again 1 2 Could B
  • Score: -3

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree