Independents rule in Barnsley town centre.
There was good news for shoppers this week when the latest figures revealed there are fewer empty shops in Barnsley than the national and regional average.
Not only are more shops trading in the town centre than elsewhere, but more of them are independents- meaning the town has a more varied selection of stores.
Coun Roy Miller, cabinet spokesman said: “I believe the reason we don’t suffer from empty shop blight is because we are not another clone town offering exactly the same as every other.
"Not only is our market an amazing asset, it provides a huge amount of Independent trader choice, as does our high street.”
Over the past month five units held by Barnsley Council in the main retail area of the town centre have been let.
The council has also reviewed empty units under the old Central Offices, which are due to be demolished as part of the markets redevelopment, and two of the larger units on May Day Green have been offered for short term lease.
The council says this will not impede the redevelopment, but it will help satisfy demand for new premises in the short term.
One of the new tenants, Chris Barton, who runs Barnsley Pet Supplies on May Day Green will also be occupying the largest unit, the former Quit Shop, selling household goods and he is also looking for further premises to expand into ladies' fashion.
He said: “In a difficult economic market, Barnsley Council has given me the confidence to grow my businesses.”
Apart from the shops under the former Central Offices site, 95.6 per cent of Barnsley’s retail units are occupied .
Barnsley’s independents have also continued to grow, nationally just 43.5 per cent of units are held by independents, regionally 60.3per cent but Barnsley can boast that 78.2 per cent of its shops are independent.