Call to cut rents as Motherwell shops close

Empty shops in Motherwell's Windmillhill Street.
Empty shops in Motherwell's Windmillhill Street.

Motherwell’s Windmillhill Street is known for a range of small, independent shops a short distance from the town centre.

However, it’s been hit by a spate of closures recently and, with other units already lying empty, there are calls for North Lanarkshire Council to consider cutting rents to make the area more attractive.

The council - through the organisation set up to deal with its properties - claimed this week that ‘High Street trading conditions’ are a more likely cause of closures, but one councillor expressed concern that small traders are being

‘priced out’ of their shops.

North Lanarkshire Properties is currently looking for new tenants for Family News and Moto Parts which both closed recently. The car spares shop was one of the longest-established businesses in the area, having been there for around 30 years.

A few doors along Barclay butchers is due to close next week while Boots earlier this year announced plans to move one of its two pharmacies in Windmillhill Street to Modyrvale Medical Cenre.

On top of all that there are several empty units, including two that were used temporarily by political parties during the referendum and election campaigns.

One trader, who asked not to be named, said: “It’s sad to see these closures because the area is usually busy - the trade is here.

“Having spoken to fellow shopkeepers, I know there are various problems, but rent is the big one.

“I don’t see why the council doesn’t offer reduced rents. Surely it would be better having some income than letting shops lie empty for long periods?”

More on this story and plans for Motherwell town centre in the Times & Speaker, out now.