RADICAL action is needed to save Strabane town centre, amid a warning that 1,000 shops across Northern Ireland could be facing closure.
During a visit to the town on Thursday, head of the Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association (NIIRTA), Glyn Roberts, unveiled a 50 point strategy which he believes could reverse the fortunes of ailing town centres. Among the most fundamental proposals are changes to town centres rates, parking and planning.
Last week the Strabane Chronicle revealed that currently one in five shops lie empty across the town’s retail heart. Over the past year 1,000 stores closed across Northern Ireland, with projections painting a similarly grim picture for the coming year.
Glyn Roberts however believes that the situation is not beyond rescue. With a proper retail strategy town centres could again become vibrant hubs of commerce and culture, he said.
“Strabane has its problems with a 20 per-cent vacancy rate but it can be turned around,” Mr Roberts said.