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Gloucestershire Business News

Putting the wow factor into the heart of Cirencester

News that the House of Fraser store in Cirencester is to close has prompted a fresh look at how to promote the town's retail appeal.

The House of Fraser store in Market Place is one of 31 stores shutting nationally as the company restructures.

Now Cotswold District Council says it is looking at how new retailers can be enticed into Cirencester.

The council's leader Cllr Mark Annett said: ""Despite the forthcoming demise of our iconic department store in Cirencester, we believe that there are excellent opportunities on the horizon to attract new retailers who can enrich the shopping experience in the town.

"We aim to work with GFirst Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), local councillors and representatives of local businesses and other organisations to plan the best way forward.

"This includes discussions with the current owners of the building about potential new uses and reviewing the retail studies that link to the retail and economic development policies in our Local Plan. This work should enable us to investigate and then action the best possible options for the future.

"Most people were disappointed when the House of Fraser announced the closure of 31 of its 59 stores across the country - including the long established branch in Cirencester - but it wasn't really a huge shock to anyone.

"Shopping habits have changed radically over the last decade with the phenomenal growth in online trading and notable reductions in footfall in some retail sectors. Nevertheless, recent trends indicate that there is still a healthy appetite for trips to the shops provided they offer something special."

He added: "We want to help Cirencester provide that 'wow factor'. Traders have already benefited from our 'free after three' parking offers in the Forum and Brewery car parks and we will continue to explore ways to help them thrive.

"Our aim in the Local Plan is to strengthen the vitality and viability of our key local retail centres and we already have a head start in Cirencester because the town council's redevelopment of the Market Place has created a really spacious and attractive focal point.

"We now need to make the most of this wonderful resource. To that end, we have already started work on development of a new Master Plan for Cirencester town centre, which will include provision of a great retail offer for future generations."

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