Once-booming shopping centre loved by locals now a 'disgrace' after becoming ghost town


A once-booming shopping centre that was loved by locals has been termed a “ghost town" as the residents grow concerned over the closure of “decent shops.” The City Centre in Coventry which was earlier filled with many high street shops and local businesses is now witnessing a downfall as the number of empty shops has gone up over the last few years. 

According to a Coventry City Council survey, the number of empty shop units has skyrocketed in the last five years, with five times the number of abandoned shops in April 2023 than there were in 2022, reported Mirror

Shops that have closed included TJ Hughes, Clintons, Next, Topshop and Argos leaving the residents fuming about what they view as a “disgrace” - with most of the blame going to the council.

A major £450million redevelopment of the city centre is behind the exodus of high street shops, with many opting to relocate away from City Arcade - which is set to be demolished - before the City Centre South transformation begins.

Coventry City Council said the development will “create new homes, retail spaces, leisure facilities and more - to make the city centre an attractive place to work, live and invest in."

However, several Coventry residents aren’t convinced. 

On a CoventryLive Facebook page, residents expressed major concerns about the development, including parking and the future of small businesses.

Steve Arnold is concerned that rent prices will become “unsustainable for many small businesses”, as the council are “doing all they can to drive out business both in the city centre and with other properties they manage and let out”.

“Increases in rent and rates are all passed on to the customers so it’s the public who end up paying for a business to try to stay alive.”

Charlie Carter agreed: “Well that's because they're knocking huge bits of the place down, and the places which aren't knocked down, the rent has become so expensive, that no-one can afford it.”

Lesley Burton labelled the centre a “ghost town” and questioned the capacity of small businesses to “set up and survive in this economic climate with rates so high”, while Marie White described the city centre as a “shambles”.

Chris Anthony raised the issue of car parking. He said: "Car parking is a joke, it costs more to park your car than what you’ll spend.

“Make it free to park or £1 all day and people will come to the centre - a lot of people choose out of town shopping parks as free parking over stupid-priced city car parks.

“There’s no encouragement from councils to open shops. Smaller businesses out of town will come to the city centre if rates were the same and more free parking to encourage shoppers.”

The City Centre South project is not set to be completed until summer 2033, according to the council website.

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