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Watford road crying out for new businesses
Queens Road is calling out for new “niche” businesses, according to a group of local residents, politicians and shop owners.
At a meeting on Thursday, ideas for the future of Queens Road were discussed.
Mike Hewitt, co-chairman of the Queens Road Traders Association, said the road needed more services, such as doctors and opticians, and “niche cafes”.
He said: “A shop will cost you £60,000 a year before you pay any staff or buy any stock to sell. Retail is finished, there are not enough houses to look after local shops.
“Queens Road needs niche places for people to go out and eat, we are near a road full of places like KPMG but we can’t attract those people.
“We need to find people with ideas who are ready to put money behind those ideas. I would run a business plan for a coffee shop or specialist shop opening in Queens Road.
“People will walk 30 metres and if they haven’t found anything interesting they will turn around. We need a shop to anchor one end of the road, and a bank, doctors’ surgery or opticians, then we’d be laughing.”
MP for Watford Richard Harrington also attended the meeting and said business owners were under increasing pressure from sky-high rents and rates bills.
He said: “The business rates system is outrageous, rents have come down but the rates haven’t. The pressure on public expenditure is such that business rates are a very important revenue sector.
“There are fundamentally too many shops, even if the rent and rates were lower. There will be half as many shops in this country in ten years time.”