THE Mayor of Belper has issued an appeal for two of the biggest empty shops in Belper to be filled with business again.
Cllr Alan Cox is desperate to see the former Focus DIY store, off Chapel Street, and the old Haldanes supermarket, on King Street, bustling with some sort of custom again.
The two prime location buildings are fast becoming painful eyesores for the town — and it is more than four months since both businesses closed their doors.
The Focus store has already been targeted by vandals. Windows at the entrance to the store, opposite Morrisons, have been smashed and glass is strewn on the ground.
Cllr Cox said: “This is the trouble with leaving buildings empty, certain elements of society will take advantage.
“Hopefully someone can take over, if only on a temporary basis so at least someone is in there.”
The car park has been blocked off and the whole site cuts a cold, dreary presence.
When our reporter went to inspect the damage, one shopper, who was walking past, said: “It just looks a mess, and the vandals have got at it as well. What a waste it is.”
Haldanes signs still adorn the front and back of the building on King Street. Shelves still stand in the former shop, and chip-and-pin machines, a tannoy and shopping trolleys are still visible.
The two-storey building is up for lease by CB Richard Ellis. The News contacted the firm to ask if there had been any offers for the building, but had no response.
Cllr Cox said: “It needs to be open again to get people back on the high street.”
He added: “It is very unfortunate. They are two major retail stores in town that are not generating people coming into the town.”
One shopper on King Street, a woman who did not want to be named, said of Haldanes: “It is such a shame. It is right in the middle of town as well.”
Tesco was believed by many to own the Focus site, but a spokeswoman for the retail giant said that was not the case. She said: “We don’t own the Focus store.”
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