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HomeNewsHigh street under pressure: Armley feels impact of Covid-19 pandemic on trade

High street under pressure: Armley feels impact of Covid-19 pandemic on trade

Armley has now lost nearly all its non-food national chains due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, a council report has said.

A report to the Inner West Community Committee this evening said regular issues with street drinking and drug dealing continued to be a problem in the Town Street, but have been recently reduced by police.

Peter Mudge is Leeds City Council’s neighbourhood centres co-ordinator and the closest thing Armley has to a town centre manager. His report said that there are reasons for optimism moving forward, but said there are currently three empty units on the lower part of Town Street.

Coral betting, Card Factory, Boots and Fultons had all closed, with Fultons being bought nationally by Poundland. In Armley Fultons will partially transfer into the Poundland unit. The report said:

“Coral and Card Factory already have interest from new businesses. The former Wilsons Pie shop has now become Greens Pies and another shop is now a speciality frozen foods outlet.

“Other major improvements to the offer of the town are progressing at another venue.

“Last year the former Yorkshire Bank wanted to reopen as shops on ground floor and said they had tenants waiting however creation of a shop frontage was turned down so this has now been lost as a business and is being converted to flats.”

Mr Mudge’s report also highlighted ongoing problems with street drinking in the area. He wrote:

“After the first lockdown, street drinking returned in a big way on Town Street, along with begging and drug dealing. Police have reduced these, though there is national concern areas suffering after the first lockdown may do so again in the coming months. We have placed signs at four locations which is a new trial for Leeds and looks to make dealers and buyers feel uneasy in those areas.”

Back in 2019 the government provided a £15,000 loan to help develop and set up a Business Improvement District (BID) covering the town centre, including Armley Town Street.

A BID is an extra levy, on top of business rates, that is paid for by business rate payers and used to benefit businesses within a specified area. The levy should add to and enhance, rather than replace or distract, current provisions provided in the area by the local authority.

Due to the pandemic Armley BID project is on hold for the time being.

The Inner West Community Committee is made up of councillors from the Armley, Bramley & Stanningley and Kirkstall Wards and nine community co-optees. View the agenda in full here.


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