Penryn has 'highest number' of empty shops
Penryn has the most empty shops of any town centre in the whole of the county, according to an expert from Cornwall Council.
Town management specialist Guy Thomas met with Penryn town clerk Michelle Davey, alongside representatives from the council and town trader's association, last month following an audit he had carried out of the town centre.
He discovered that Penryn “had the highest vacancy rate in Cornwall,” Miss Davey told the town council on Monday, but did have some ideas for how the town might turn itself around.
“He believed that the town centre should build its branding on its small independent retailers,” she said.
“He gave a number of suggestions towards regenerating the town centre including the promotion of Commercial Road car park, extended opening hours for shops, improvements to the public realm, introduction of a loyalty scheme and joint purchasing for traders.”
Mary May, one of the Cornwall councillors for Penryn, has previously floated the idea of a “pledge” scheme to get people shopping in the town.
She mentioned this to the town management specialist, according to Miss Davey, who said that it could be built upon further into something similar to the “Love Launceston” loyalty card scheme that was launched this summer.
Miss Davey said: “It's one of a number of options for regenerating the town centre.
“The Launceston scheme is very, very good because what they do is the traders offer some kind of special offer - it could be a discount, it could be a buy one get one free.
“The traders each decide themselves what their particular offer is going to be and they are encouraged to change them on a regular basis so it keeps it fresh.”
Loyalty cards would be issued to all residents, while visitors could get a temporary “one day” card if pay and display machines in the town's car parks were adapted to issue them.
A website could also be set up to advertise the offers, Miss Davey said.
“There's all sorts of issues to be worked out,” she added.
“What we are doing at the moment is we have asked the town management specialist to help us really, to put some sort of scheme together for the regeneration of the town.
“Whatever that ends up being, the big picture is looking at the overall regeneration, encouraging more people to come to town and encouraging more people to rent an empty shop space.”