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Occupancy rates remain stable

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Occupancy rates of business premises in town centres across Dudley borough have remained stable despite the pandemic, a report has revealed.

Members of Dudley Council’s overview and scrutiny management board will be asked to consider a report on the prospects of the borough’s town centres, when it meets on November 25.

The report details the results of an annual survey, which looks at vacancy rates in town centres and also outlines the scale of investment to support the recovery of businesses.

Since the start of the pandemic more than £58.7 million of business grants have been paid to more than 5,000 businesses across the borough. This includes those in the retail, hospitality and leisure sector.

This support to businesses has helped keep vacancy rates stable during a time of considerable uncertainty.

In Brierley Hill the rate went from 19 percent in 2019 to 17 percent this year and in Dudley the vacancy rate stayed the same for the last 12 months at 12 percent.

In Halesowen the vacancy rate was 14.5 percent in 2019 compared to 15 percent this year and in Stourbridge it went from 8 percent in 2019 to 10 percent in 2020.

Councillor Ian Kettle, cabinet member for regeneration and enterprise, said:

Businesses along our high streets have and continue to experience some of the toughest times we’ve ever seen as a result of the pandemic.
But these latest figures on vacancy rates in our town centres give us a glimmer of hope. Of course we want to drive vacancy rates down even further but the fact we’ve seen some stability in such challenging times is something to welcome and brings hope for the future.
I’m pleased we’ve been able to provide businesses with the financial support they need but this stability can also be attributed to the grit and determination of our business owners to keep going and to local people who have continued to support them.
Please remember we remain in a period of national restrictions, I would urge residents to continue to support their local high streets when shopping for essential items but ensure they follow the latest guidelines at all times.

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