A diverse and thriving high street has emerged in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, after a council scheme to revive the town centre has started to pay dividends.
Independents were offered breaks on rent and cash for shopfits to entice them to bring the town’s high street back to life.
The 15 business owners who took advantage of the incentive got the stamp of approval earlier this month when Queen of Shops Mary Portas paid a visit to the town.
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Danni Roden, whose boutique Yella Brick Road would not exist without the scheme, said: “The grant gave me the idea for the shop and meant I could do a better storefit.
“Independents can’t afford the rents in big shopping centres, so local shoppers don’t get that distinctive product choice in the two nearby shopping centres.”
After a year and a half of successful trading, Roden is expanding into the empty space next door where she plans to introduce menswear and gift items.
Independents such as fashion boutiques and a beauty salon offer shoppers a diversity on the high street. Portas, who is carrying out an independent Government review of the UK’s high streets, toured Rotherham’s revived high street.
She said: “Rotherham looks really good. A lot of the new traders I’ve seen are grateful to the council for getting behind them. Some towns I’ve seen don’t have a future, but Rotherham looks like one that will get itself back up.”
Grant recipients were offered a package including 50% cover rent in the first year, 25% cover the second year (provided rent is below £25,000) and £7,500 towards a shop refit.