A TOTAL of eight stores in Bromsgrove town centre closed their doors in 2014, with just four opening, according to figures released by PwC.
When it comes to neighbouring towns, Kidderminster had a similar closure ratio to Bromsgrove with 14 stores shutting and eight launching and Stourbridge had five close and five open.
Redditch, however, managed to buck the trend, with ten stores ceasing trading and 15 opening up.
Overall in the West Midlands, 524 shops shut and 371 opened – the most popular were charity shops – which saw an increase of 11 across the region, tobacconists/e-cigarette retailers – a rise of eight and jewellers – an extra seven were opened.
On the other side of the coin, mobile phone shops saw the biggest drop – with 44 closing across the West Midlands, followed by building societies (a drop of 15) and cheque-cashing outlets – there were 14 less of those.
Bromsgrove District Council’s Labour leader, Coun Luke Mallett, said: “The fact Bromsgrove has lost twice as many shops as have opened comes as no surprise to those that live in our town.
“The Conservative-run council has dithered for years over the town centre regeneration and much of what we had has gone.
“In short the council is to blame for the fact Bromsgrove town centre is where it is today, with twice as many shops closing as opening.”
He added a Labour-run council would offer business rate reliefs and capital grants to reinstate vacant shops, remove parking charges on Sundays and for Blue Badge holders and make the free evening parking trial permanent.
“Only by such measures will we start to reverse the damage that the council has done to our town.” he added.
A Bromsgrove District Council spokesperson said: “Bromsgrove High Street has been hit by national trends which have seen chains like Mothercare closing down.
“But we are also delighted to welcome new businesses to our High Street including national chain Shoezone and, most recently, independent initiative Lorita’s Bakehouse which has benefited from our business start-up grant and advice. ”
The Standard contacted Bromsgrove Conservative Group for a comment on the situation but no one was available at the time of going to press.
* What do you think? What would you like to see happen with Bromsgrove town centre? Are there any shops which you would like to see there? E-mail email@example.com