The team which is trying to breath new life into Bridlington has hit back at a report which claims almost 40 businesses closed in the town centre in the first six months of this year.
Nigel Atkinson, head of Bridlington Renaissance, said: “The council is aware of information published earlier this year by The Local Data Company (LDC) that highlights 39 independent business closures in Bridlington town centre in the first half of 2018.
“The council strongly disputes the accuracy of this data, although it does recognise the real challenges that the high street continues to face, which is a national issue and not simply one for coastal towns like Bridlington.
“As part of the council’s annual monitoring of the town centre primary retail circuit, through the Bridlington Area Action Plan (AAP), 18 closures of independents were identified between mid-2017 and mid-2018, but this was off-set by the opening of 12 new or relocating independent businesses during the same time. This represents a net reduction of just six independents in 12 months.
“During the period since the adoption of the Bridlington AAP, in 2013, the total number of independent businesses in the town centre has varied year-on-year between 144 and 151. Some years it is up others it is down without a general trend.
“The 2018 level stands at just one less independent business than five years ago according to the council’s own monitoring.
“Approximately 61% of the businesses in Bridlington’s primary retail circuit are classified as independents, which compares reasonably well with the national average of 65% quoted by LDC for towns which have more than 50 retail outlets.”
Mr Atkinson said he was optimistic that the ongoing projects around the town centre would help to attract more businesses to Bridlington.
He added: “The council is committed to investing in Bridlington for the benefit of both residents and businesses and has four current projects ongoing - representing an investment in the town of more than £25million. These include Phase 2 of the Bridlington Integrated Transport Plan (BridITP2), which will improve the public realm and transport infrastructure in the town centre as well as opening up new development sites along Hilderthorpe Road. The station plaza phase of the BridITP2 scheme is expected to start early in 2019.
“A new linear park along the Gypsey Race is also under construction and the ongoing Townscape Heritage Project, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, has seen a number of shop frontages restored along King Street and others are in the pipeline.
“These projects, as well as other ongoing work of Bridlington Renaissance, is helping to create the right type of environment for private sector investment and has been the backdrop for developments, such as the opening of the new Premier Inn - the first purpose-built hotel in the town since the 1930s – and other recent good news, such as the Promenades Shopping Centre now being fully-let.”