Business is booming

EXMOUTH is on the cusp of a major pre-summer boom of small shops and restaurants with nine empty town units on the verge of opening.

EXMOUTH is on the cusp of a major pre-summer boom of small shops and restaurants with nine empty town units on the verge of opening.

This week, town planners backed a new Italian restaurant at the former Threshers in the High Street.

While the former Branzinos restaurant, whose recent incarnations have included a Caribbean restaurant and the Manor Garden’s caf� on Chapel Hill, is to reopen as The Chronicle restaurant.

The new business is a homage to the building’s former use as the newspaper HQ between 1882 and 1962.

In Imperial Road, Domino’s pizza is set to move into the former Gudgeons store, closed for a decade, while the vacant unit in the High Street, next to Caramel clothing, is on the cusp of reopening as a deli.

In Exeter Road, the former Troopers store is being refurbished and split into two – planning permission for ‘professional’ services has been granted.

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The former Treasures antiques shop will be the new base for Hannah’s Nails Studio, who is relocating from Chapel Hill.

In The Strand, the former Weigh and Save, empty for over a year, will re-open in May as Inc, selling an assortment of limited edition prints, jewellery, gifts, cards and toys.

At 32 Rolle Street, the former Gamezone store has permission to open as chiropodists.

In the Parade, the former Rosebys store is set to re-open as Greggs bakery after town planners backed the plans. The final decision for both the High Street restaurant and Greggs will now be considered by district planners.

It is a far cry from figures by the Local Data Company, which tracks 800 town centres across the UK. They say 14.5 per cent of the UK’s 400,000 shops are empty, compared with just over five per cent at the end of 2008.

Exmouth Mayor, Darryl Nicholas, said: “These last few weeks have seen unprecedented levels of new business activity in Exmouth.

“In what are still tough times - this highlights how well Exmouth is performing and, indeed, the confidence that now exists in our town. It is often easy for negativity to win out over relatively minor issues, but it is the bigger picture that is important.

“This ‘bigger picture’ clearly shows that we have attracted numerous quality businesses to The Strand during the last six months - this area is now at capacity.”

“It also shows that we are currently attracting a wave of new investment from independent, regional and national businesses across the town centre. This comes on top of large scale private investment at Eurotech, Lidl and Liverton 2. Let’s also not forget the public sector-led projects such as The Strand enhancements, the upcoming LDA Masterplan and the project to improve the gateway to the Jurassic Coast at Orcombe point. It is certainly not a time for complacency - but these really are exciting times for our town.”