Despite a number of shop closures, town centre bosses insist that the future is not bleak for Fulham Broadway, even though there has been the departure of two major shopping chains and uncertainty over a number of empty units.
Large stores belonging to Blockbuster, in North End Road, and HMV, in the Broadway Centre, are soon to become vacant after both chains went into administration, while Union Market, which also belongs to the centre, is still empty 18 months after it went out of business.
The much-anticipated arrival this summer of Whole Foods into the building formerly occupied by the Blue Elephant restaurant has now been delayed until 2014, while a planned ‘shopping emporium’ at the Town Hall has yet to receive planning permission.
However, there was a recent opening of restaurant chain Byron, as well as Manuka, Wagamama, Knouz, and independent deli and café Labi have recently opened and Hammersmith and Fulham Council says it is working with firms like PopUp Britain and Appear Here to rejuvenate empty units and provide ‘affordable’ spaces for start-ups.
Insisting companies still see the area as an attractive proposition, Cllr Robert Iggulden, the local authority’s ‘business champion’, said: “The number of commercial properties lying vacant in Hammersmith & Fulham is well below the national average, and a recent report placed H&F as the third best borough for economic performance in London.”
“It is important for the local community that there are enough shops, cafes and restaurants in town centres,” says Sarah Burgess, manager at the Fulham branch of lettings agent Edmund Cude. “It is reassuring that the council is looking at ways to support local events and activities, which will help bring more shoppers to the area.”