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Report suggests rental income from precinct will drop in 2014
FRESH efforts are due to be made towards improving the fortunes of a Worcester shopping centre, it has emerged.
It comes after publication of a new report suggesting rental income from the Hopmarket will take a slight drop next year due to the poor economy.
Despite the precinct being off Foregate Street, there have long been concerns that too many pedestrians walk past it without stopping to take a look inside. One suggested solution put forward has been new signs to alert shoppers, or a marketing drive to create better awareness of the centre, which is full of independent retailers and residential flats.
The city council, which owns the 27-unit complex, is estimating rental income will drop from £145,000 to £140,000 in 2013/14.
A proportion of the rent cash is divided up and handed to groups which are deemed to make worthy contributions to the city. Yet, despite the predicted fall, 19 organisations are expected to benefit from charitable donations totalling £90,000 next year, £5,000 less than the awards for 2012/13.
The list for 2013/14 includes homeless shelters, youth clubs and bodies which help the vulnerable.
The cash is still below the £235,586 the groups originally requested.
The report warns “the economic climate and low interest rates” continue to “suppress the level of funds available”.
Councillor Lynn Denham, who represents the city centre, said: “You would hope with the Hive and the new Asda that the increased footfall around the city would benefit the Hopmarket.
“Part of the issue could be that it’s a little bit off the beaten track – at the moment we’ve got to be realistic about it.”
Shop owner Clare Bridge, who runs Second Hand Rose, a vintage clothing shop, said: “It’s hard work but I’ve been here seven years and I’m proof you can make it work.
“It’s too easy to blame the council or the location.
“I think if shops are not doing well it’s more down to the current climate than anything else.”