Almost a seventh of all commercial properties in Lincoln are now vacant and figures could continue to soar, according to a new report.
The report by the Local Data Company (LDC) shows that in 2010, Lincoln’s empty shop space rose by 2%, ranking the city 4th worst off in the county.
Within Lincolnshire, Grimsby saw the biggest decline in shop businesses with 26.4% of shops vacant, a 5.3% increase in the last year.
Regionally, the city came 9th in the decline, underneath Kingston-upon-Hull, Goole, Gainsborough and Scunthorpe. Again, Grimsby topped the chart.
Although Lincoln does not chart nationally, the report highlights that the number of empty shops is likely to increase in 2011 due to tough economical times.
The charts also show that the North-South divide gap between areas is growing.
Nationally, Rotherham and Morecambe both rose 13.7% for one year in vacancies, meaning Rotherham has 28.8% of shops vacant and Morecambe 30%.
Chief Executive at Lincoln BIG Matt Corrigan feels the LDC’s report is a little doubtful.
He said: “We did see slowing down in property investment a few years ago, but since it has been going back up.
“We find that there will always be a vacancy rate anyway because businesses do come and go.
“Lincoln BIG makes sure the shops are tidy by painting them and decorating and someone going in to check on the property. They are looked after.
“For those with longer-term vacancies we also use window vinyls and graphics.”
“We will always be monitoring the situation in the city carefully,” he added.
— Later update: Lincoln MP Karl McCartney said he understands the concerns of many shops and smalls businesses at the moment.
“I am concerned that these latest figures indicate a small increase in the number of vacant shops in our city.
“We are living in a very difficult economic climate, not of our own making, and I know that the City Council has tried to mitigate the effects of this by helping some businesses in various ways, including examining the current level of their business rates.”