A sharp rise in the number of empty shops in Wyre has left the vacancy rate at its highest level in almost two years, new figures show.
Fleetwood is the only town in Wyre to record a drop in the number of empty stores since the start of the year.
But town hall bosses say disruption caused by vital regeneration work explains the sudden change and there are already signs of improvment.
Thornton now has the highest shop vacancy rate, at 12.9 per cent, while the average for the borough was up to 9.3 per cent in April.
Coun Pete Murphy, who recently took over as economy portfolio holder for Wyre Council, said upheaval during work on the tram tracks had hit some towns hard.
He added: “If you look at Poulton, because of the redevelopment with Booths, there was some uncertainty. But if you go in most days now, it’s buzzing. Home Bargains’ opening has done the town a favour. We have got reasons why the vacancy rate went up in April but it is not something we are going to ignore. My job is to make sure we have got things in place so that we can move forward.”
Figures due to be presented at a Wyre Council meeting tomorrow show the vacancy rate in Cleveleys has more than doubled, from 3.7 to 7.5 per cent, since January 2013.
In Thornton, the figure has been above 10 per cent for more than a year. In Poulton, the figure is 10.91 per cent. Fleetwood’s vacancy rate of 12.2 per cent is down since January but still higher than the 6.4 per cent recorded in October 2012. Garstang’s figure is up to 3 per cent.
In February the national average was 19.9 per cent, while across the North West the figure stood at 17 per cent.
Coun Murphy said towns will benefit from £190,000 of business support the council won in the Revive and Thrive Challenge. The first meeting for that took place last week.