As high streets continue their battle to maintain shoppers and prevent store closures, director of Hinckley BID Steve Wegerif says Hinckley is bucking the national trend.


In recent years, town centres across the country have been hit by the shift away from the high street and on to the internet with many stores and restaurants closing and units remaining empty.


However, with 31 closures and 40 openings in Hinckley town centre over the last year, Steve has reassured us that the BID and Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council partnership are doing their ‘level best’ to keep the town centre vibrant.


He said: “We have witnessed closures, 31 in fact, but we have also had 40 openings. These are shops and businesses, whether this is shops changing hands and reopening or businesses closing, we still remain on the plus side of it all.


“The town centre vacancy rate average is 10.2%. Hinckley’s town centre average is 6.8% - we are well below the average.


“With events organised between the BID and Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council we try to encourage residents and visitors to visit the whole of the town centre.


“With the opera trail and the recent bunny hunt, our visitors have to visit all parts of the town and explore the places they wouldn’t necessarily go too. We are continuing to do our level best to keep our town centre vibrant.”


Despite the closure of some major high street retailers, Steve says there is a trend in the type of services that are opening in town centres.


He said: “Town centres are catering to their residents’ needs. There is a trend in the opening of hair salons, nail bars, wine bars and cafes because that’s what people want more of, there’s a demand.


“As we see town centres change, we will see more residencies being built, which will benefit all shops and services.”


Hinckley Leisure Centre, The Crescent and The Britannia Shopping Centre and with the nearing additions of two town centre supermarkets Aldi and Lidl, Steve says Hinckley has a lot to boast about compared to other town centres.


“We are lucky that we have these different services within our town centre and we’re now seeing more people coming into Hinckley from our neighbouring towns.


“In the past we would see Hinckley residents taking the bus to travel to the likes of Nuneaton but now, that seems to be reversing. People are coming here because of what we have to offer.”


According to data obtained from the Hinckley BID’s Geo-Sense Footfall Monitors, last year’s events brought in an extra 100,000 visitors to Hinckley, which Steve praises the relationship between the BID and HBBC for.


“We work very closely with HBBC and it’s all aimed at keeping things positive and ensuring that Hinckley continues to thrive. We have events lined up all year round and they’re more popular than ever.


“Throughout the rest of the year we have lots of events to look forward too, our annual soap box is already full.”