TEN shops have opened in Barnstaple town centre in the last month, signalling a boom for the retail industry.
And there looks to be a further boost in the pipeline after plans for a new shop, taking up five units in Green Lanes Shopping Centre and on Joy Street, were approved by North Devon Council.
Tesco had a high profile opening on the High Street last week and there have been plenty of other new stores opening their doors, too.
Home furnishing store Trio opened at the start of July while similar stores Furniture Magpie and Original Furniture Co also opened on Boutport Street and Paiges Lane respectively.
Hairdressers Belle Belou also opened on Paiges Lane while the High Street has seen the arrival of CEX, Books For Less and C2Eco.
A branch of Jones, The Bootmaker, is set to move into Green Lanes and House of Beauty has opened on Boutport Street.
Fish and chip shop Starfish is also due to open in the old Chambers premises on The Square in the next few weeks.
All of which means it’s been a busy period for town centre management and business improvement district manager Sue Rawle.
“Since we put together the last BID map we’ve had 10 businesses move in,” she said. “It goes to show there’s no gloomy outlook for the town centre.
“It doesn’t seem like it’s a boost because of summer trade, it seems like these businesses are here to stay. We did have a lot of empty units so this is good, because it’s all about perception.”
Town centre manager Craig Bulley said he was particularly excited about the plans for Starfish.
“Until it opens it will be difficult to tell how good a job they’ve done with it,” he said. “But that building has been crying out for a proper refurbishment since it was Chambers.”
Mr Bulley was also enthusiastic about the news that the owners of Green Lanes, British Land, had been granted permission to turn three units in the shopping centre and two in Joy Street into one store.
“If that does go ahead it will make a big improvement to Joy Street and pull people through Market Street,” he said.