High Street bucks the national trend

Thame High Street has fewer closed shops than most market towns in the country
Thame High Street has fewer closed shops than most market towns in the country

THAME is bucking the national trend as its High Street continues to flourish.

In stark contrast to the national picture, Thame and the district saw an overall increase in the number of shops trading during the last year according to a new survey by South Oxfordshire District Council.

The results are based on an annual count of shops on a single day in January and identified that 95.2 per cent of stores across South Oxfordshire’s market towns were occupied, up from 94.9 per cent a year ago.

This compares extremely favourably to the national situation where an average of just 85.5 per cent of shops are occupied.

In Thame, the high demand for retail units has meant that all but four shops in the town centre are taken.

Sonja Francis, chairman of Thame4Business, said: “We’ve been working really hard over the last three of four years. The volunteers of the 21st Century Thame Partnership have worked particularly hard to seek out funding for projects like our Shop Fronts Improvement scheme and the Loyalty Card project.”

The latest project is the launch of a web portal for Thame businesses and services which will be up and running in the near future.

Sonja said: “Thame is a great mix of independent shops which make it very individual.

“We can’t be complacent and we’ve got to keep up the momentum. Funding is going to be more difficult now but South Oxfordshire District Council is committed to supporting its market towns.

“At the end of the day, Thame people must use their local shops, pubs and restaurants. It is definitely a case of use it or lose it.

“So far Thame’s doing a brilliant job working together.”

Councillor Judith Nimmo-Smith cabinet member for economic development said: “The results prove that South Oxfordshire is continuing to do significantly better than others part of the country in terms of having a thriving local economy.”

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