04:15PM, Thursday 24 September 2020
A series of crimes are on the decline in Windsor and the town could be home to two new ‘serious retailers’ to boost the high street, a meeting heard this week.
The Windsor Town Forum met on Wednesday night, with the packed agenda including an update from town manager Paul Roach.
Mr Roach said that footfall in Windsor town centre had gone down 16 per cent on this same period last year, adding retailers like Laura Ashley have shut up shop during a ‘difficult time’ for the sector.
But he had some good news for Windsor Yards, which will be home to a pair of new ‘significant tenants’ to take the place of the vacant Topshop and Timberland units.
“They will not be pop-ups – they are going to be serious retailers,” Mr Roach said.
The overall vacancy rate in Windsor town centre was about nine per cent, he added, compared with a national average of 10.3 per cent.
“It is a difficult time. Retail has struggled, hospitality has struggled, so it is not brilliant but Windsor is probably no different from most other towns in the country,” Mr Roach added.
The town manager also acknowledged work done to ensure more social distancing and safer shopping.
All trees and some benches have been removed in Peascod Street, while footpaths in Thames Street, Thames Avenue and Datchet Road have been widened.
Mr Roach told members: “It is all about people feeling confident and safe coming to the town centre.”
The meeting also heard from Tracey Croucher, a Thames Valley Police inspector, who updated the forum on crime figures in central Windsor, and the east and western areas.
Residential burglaries and theft of motor vehicles had both decreased from last year, while theft of bikes decreased in Windsor Central and remained the same elsewhere.
But Ins. Croucher anticipated a busy upcoming period with more calls for COVID breaches – and Christmas appraching.
“Last time, everybody was basically locked up so there was very little crime. This time it is very different, we are having calls for COVID breaches and having the same demand as pre-COVID,” she said.
“In terms of violent offences, there has actually been a rise. Demand on police services is going to go up further over the next six months.”
Cllr Samantha Rayner (Con, Eton and Castle) asked how the police would be dealing with the ‘rule of six’ measures imposed – while new Government guidance was also announced this week.
Ins. Croucher said: “We are taking a firm stance, as firm a stance as we can. We have had a couple of calls for COVID service around the borough. We are aware that those reports will be more and preparing to enforce the rules in order to protect people.”
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