Government minister 'really concerned' about empty shops as he urges retailers to open on Sundays

Deputy Kirsten Morel wants to put the onus on landlords to fill empty shops and will approach UK and European retailers about opening stores in St Helier. Credit: ITV Channel

Jersey's Sustainable Economic Development Minister says he is "really concerned about the number of empty shops" in St Helier town centre.

Deputy Kirsten Morel wants to take a more proactive approach in encouraging overseas businesses and those from elsewhere on the island to move onto the high street.

He explains: "Obviously we're a small island, we can't expect all retailers around the UK and Europe to know about Jersey so we need to go and talk to them."

The minister also wants businesses already in the town centre to open their stores on Sundays.

He adds: "If you get off the boat for a day trip and very few shops are open, it will make you question why. If you go to St Malo, pretty much all of them are open and there's a lot to do. In Jersey, I think we need the centre of town to provide that."

Deputy Morel believes regenerating the town centre will play a big part in making it more attractive.

He says Infrastructure Minister Andy Jehan is working with St Helier Constable Simon Crowcroft on "quick wins" to revamp areas such as the Central Market as well as Broad Street, which the Government plans to fully pedestrianise.

Deputy Morel also wants to put the onus on landlords and get them to justify why stores are left vacant.

He explains: "It does worry me, particularly when I look at Queen Street, I am really concerned about the number of empty shops up there.

"If I was a tourist arriving in Jersey, what would I think seeing four or five empty stores all next to each other?

"There is a responsibility on landlords, we do need to remind them of that, even if they're getting rent from a tenant that's left, they need to get that back into trading."

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