02:27PM, Thursday 19 May 2022
Windsor is in the process of welcoming a number of new retailers as the town looks to boost footfall, a meeting has heard.
Bakery chain Greggs and burger outlet Five Guys will be setting up shop in Windsor in the near future, according to town manager Paul Roach.
Mr Roach was speaking at a virtual meeting of the Windsor Town Forum on Tuesday, at which he provided an update on empty units and the visitor numbers to the royal town post-COVID.
He said: “I am feeling very positive. I know the look and feel at the moment if you walk in certain parts of Peascod Street, it is looking quite bleak, but there is movement.”
As well as Greggs and Five Guys, Mr Roach added that brasserie restaurant The Ivy will be opening in Windsor High Street next week.
The town manager said that the food and restaurant sector was dominating the town centre market at the moment, but was confident other stores such as clothes shops would also be opening in Windsor.
“Both of the shopping centres will be seeing at least two to three additional units in the next two to three months,” Mr Roach confirmed.
“There is a lot of negotiation on all of their empty units at the moment.”
He added: “There is a lot more interest than this time last year, so things are looking very positive. I expect our vacancy rate will come down by some number in the coming months.”
Mr Roach said that Windsor’s footfall was up 68 per cent on the time period last year, but he added this wasn’t a true comparison due to more restrictions in 2021.
He said that although the footfall remained below 2019 levels, Windsor was still doing ‘very well’ compared to the rest of the UK.
Tourist figures will suffer from a ‘two to three year lag’ before they return to normal levels, Mr Roach informed the meeting.
The town manager, along with Thames Valley Police’s representative Jeff Pick, also updated members on a six-week police operation targeting youths and anti-social behaviour in Windsor on Sunday afternoons.
Scores of officers have been out in the town centre following complaints from residents that ‘intimidating’ large groups of young people, aged 12-15, were gathering.
Mr Pick said the group were not committing offences but were ‘noisy’ and ‘visible’.
“We are bringing in officers from across the Thames Valley and have got funding from the Chief Constable because they feel it is a real problem,” he added.
“They [the groups] are not doing anything – they are just loud and very visible. It is very difficult for us because they are not actually committing crimes.”
Mr Pick said that no serious attacks or incidents had occurred as a result of the groups, although one or two arrests had been made.
Mr Roach added that the police were trying to identify troublesome individuals and were liaising with businesses on the matter.
An independent report into a Conservative councillor has found a breach of the Royal Borough’s code of conduct in a document seen by the Advertiser.