Poundland to take over Heron Foods site in Hexham
One of the few empty shops in Hexham will soon be occupied again, with Poundland set to move into the former Heron Foods site in Priestpopple.
Though no opening date has been confirmed yet, store jobs have been advertised and a planning application submitted for “one internally illuminated fascia sign and one internally illuminated hanging sign”. Drawings of the signage attached to the application confirm Poundland as the retailer in question. [UPDATE, 14 Nov 2011: The opening has now been confirmed for this coming Thursday, 17 November.]
The move is significant in that it’s outside Hexham’s main pedestrianised thoroughfare of Fore Street, where multiple retailers have tended to cluster. That street, however, is consistently fully let, with Mountain Warehouse (in the former Stead & Simpson) and Iceland (in the old Woolworths) among the recent arrivals.
Priestpopple and Market Street, in contrast, have tended to have a higher proportion of independent stores. Nevertheless, the former Heron site is in a good location – close to the bus station, opposite the side entrance to Beales department store (formerly Robbs), and on the way to the hidden Marks & Spencer in Maidens Walk – and Poundland’s arrival is likely to drive footfall further.
Hexham’s shop vacancy rate is traditionally in the low single figures, and this letting again confirms the Northumberland town’s attractiveness to retailers – as well as Poundland’s continued foray into more upmarket locations. The joy of Hexham as a shopping destination is that it combines a good mix of chains with some superb independent shops and cafés, such as Dillies (flower, chocolate and wine shop) in Market Street, and the delightful Artful gallery and Cornmill Coffee Shop in St Mary’s Chare.
As I’ve noted before, however, tentative plans for the relocation and redevelopment of Hexham’s bus station need to be progressed if the town is to capitalise on all those big-name retail space requirements that currently cannot be met.