More shops opening in Clevedon

Views of Clevedon Triangle and Clock Tower.

Views of Clevedon Triangle and Clock Tower. - Credit: Archant

CLEVEDON’S shops are bucking the trend of town centres around the South West, with the town one of just 11 across the whole of the South West to see a rise in shop occupancy during 2014.

At the end of the year, there were 77 fewer shops within the region’s town centres than at the end of 2013, closing at a rate of more than one a day – and the number of occupied premises fell in 29 of its towns.

Three new shops opened in the town centre during the year while only one closed, and Clevedon Chamber of Trade chairman Paul Anslow told the Times the figures could help businesses see Clevedon as a ‘town on the up’.

He said: “It’s very good news, and very encouraging for Clevedon. The unemployment rate is low too, but people don’t always get to hear the good news about this kind of thing.

“There are a lot of charity shops and it’s an issue for people, of course. Charity shops are employers though, and it can’t be a bad thing but there are other stores coming up.

“The centre needs and has had an upsurge in creating a greater sense of community, and the number of independent stores here helps to create that, which you don’t get in bigger towns.”

The Old Street Pantry is one of those businesses which opened during 2014, when experienced chef Barry Brown decided to turn his hand to his dream of opening a café, and he told the Times he and wife Jill had never had a second thought about choosing the town.

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He said: “The business has been thriving, we opened in December, which was probably a bad time, but people have come in and given us really good reviews. We really like it here, my mother-in-law lives in Clevedon and it seemed a good place to start something independent up.

“I called the other coffee shops and said we were a little bit different; they are still doing well and have been great. We didn’t have any doubts about moving here.”