Retail snub prompts gym plans for centre

The Guildbourne Centre
The Guildbourne Centre

A ‘CHALLENGING’ retail market and zero interest from retailers in two years have led to plans for a new gym in the Guildbourne Centre.

Since the Somerfield supermarket closed in 2011, agent Michael Jones has tried to find a tenant for the unit without success – despite offering it at a heavily cut price.

The agent described the retail interest as ‘extremely poor’, and a leisure facility such as a gym was the only way to find a tenant.

A marketing report submitted with the planning application, compiled on behalf of Michael Jones, said: “During our extensive marketing campaign, despite a few enquiries from temporary charity shop-type users, there has been no retail interest to date.

“There has, however, been interest from various gym operators.”

The report highlights a seemingly gloomy picture for Worthing’s high street, with 25,000 square feet of retail space on the market within half a mile of the centre.

Over half this space has been vacant for over six months – with Chapel Road mentioned as a particular problem.

The report also noted the agent’s marketing campaign was ‘fruitless’, with no demand from food retailers.

It highlights the centre’s location – away from the town’s primary retail space – as unattractive to the major brands.

For the full story, see the Worthing Herald, out Thursday, September 5.