Recession and Tesco are no match for Mirfield traders

Mirfield's main shopping area - Huddersfield Road.
Mirfield's main shopping area - Huddersfield Road.

More than 90 per cent of Mirfield’s shops are occupied, according to a survey by the Mirfield Reporter.

Out of the 83 shops in and around Huddersfield Road we surveyed, only six were left empty, leaving an occupation rate of 92 per cent.

Of the empty shops, one was the former site of national chain Blockbusters, which went into administration last year. Another was an opticians that had moved to another site in the town.

Mayor of Mirfield, Coun Vivien Lees-Hamilton welcomed the news, and said: “I would hate to say the traders have it particularly hard or easy in Mirfield, but what I would say is that we have a strong community of businesses here.

“One thing we were concerned about was when the Tesco came to the centre of town – we were worried it could have been a deadly blow to traders, but I would hope that it has been the other way round, and customers have stayed loyal to local businesses.”

Many shopkeepers in the area believe the town is in good shape, with one trader claiming the recession was not necessarily bad for his business.

Gavin Fisher, owner of Lenscape Picture Farming and Gallery, said: “When the recession first hit in 2008 and 2009, interest rates went down so people were paying less on their mortgages – it actually left some people with more money to spend.”

Mirfield has kept an independent identity when it comes to its shops, and Mr Fisher believes trading in Mirfield has many advantages to other towns.

He added: “Business over the past couple of years has been steady, I think it is good that I operate in Mirfield, because people come from quite far away to shop here.

“There are so many different types of businesses in Mirfield – some of them, like newsagents, need a lot of people to come through the doors, but others like me and the new watch shop only need a few customers a day because of the type of goods we sell.”

lWe’ll be repeating our High Street Health Check every three months. Let us know what you think on Facebook.