Empty shop figures in Kendal lowest for years

South Lakeland’s biggest high street is in Kendal, where 437 shops were surveyed earlier this month. Credit: South Lakeland District Council

New figures released by South Lakeland District Council show the level of empty shops in Kendal is at its lowest for six years.

The percentage of shop units in the town that are presently vacant is 9.97%, the first time the rate has been below 10% since 2008.

South Lakeland’s biggest high street is in Kendal, where 437 shops were surveyed earlier this month. There were 43 shops classed as empty in Kendal according to the most recent figures, down 11 from the 54 vacant shops recorded in September 2013 when the rate of empty units was 12.41%.

There is also an encouraging picture in Ulverston, where the rate of 8.28% empty shops is the lowest in the town since April 2012. The September figures show there are 14 empty shop units in Ulverston.

In Windermere five shop units are empty, a rate of 4.16%, which is the lowest rate recorded this year. It is a similar situation in Bowness where the rate of 7.38% is also the lowest rate so far this year, with five more shop units occupied since June.

The new quarterly figures do show that empty shops have increased in Ambleside to 14, up from 13 at the start of the year, and there is one extra empty shop unit in Milnthorpe and two additional empty shops in Kirkby Lonsdale compared to the June 2014 figures. In Grange the number of empty units has remained the same at three.

The national average for shop vacancy rates is 13.5% and the North West average is 16.9%. All areas of South Lakeland are below that national average figure and the overall average for South Lakeland is 7.3%.

Empty shop numbers are collected every quarter by the Economy and Assets team at South Lakeland District Council in Kendal, Ulverston, Kirkby Lonsdale, Ambleside, Windermere, Bowness and now Kirkby Lonsdale, Grange and Milnthorpe.

“It is positive to see the levels of empty shops in some areas is returning to pre-recession levels, but while the headline figures look good there is still a lot more to do to help the independent retailers."

– Giles Archibald, Councillor