4600 empty shops in North West, according to new figures

Almost 15% of shops in the North West are empty according to figures gathered by ITV News.

This is the highest percentage in the country, with 300 shops becoming vacant in the last three years, taking the total number in the region to 4600.

Figures from the Local Data Company for ITV News / ITV Tonight show that in the North West, more than 1000 shops have changed into housing, offices or warehouses in the last five years.

Source: Local Data Company for ITV News / ITV Tonight

300 shops in the region have become vacant in the last three years. Credit: ITV News

Furthermore, in the last decade, the number of people visiting the high street in the region has fallen by 22%. This is higher than the national average.

There has also been a large number of shops being converted into housing in the region, with 1000 being converted in the last five years.

However, the North West is the only region in the country to have not seen a decline in dining on the high street.

It is believed that this is due to a growth in independent shops in the region.

Vidhya Alakeson is the chief executive of Power to Change, an organisation which helps communities regenerate.

The Minister for the Northern Powerhouse and Local Growth, Jake Berry MP said: “There's a future high street fund, which is a specific fund dedicated to game-changing developments on high streets.

"There's also the town's fund itself where we're looking to do town deals with a hundred areas who've been allocated up to £25 million.

“I don’t like this talk of the death of the high street. I think it’s far too pessimistic. Go to your local high street. I think you will be very surprised. Your viewers will be very surprised about how vibrant it still is, but we have to acknowledge that the way people are shopping is changing.”

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