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Royal Victoria Place, Tunbridge Wells, sees shops vacant for redevelopment

By KentOnline reporter

A third of shops in one of Kent's main shopping centres are vacant, sparking fears of an exodus of stores.

There are concerns some of the biggest businesses in Royal Victoria Place in Tunbridge Wells have stopped trading.

But the Royal Tunbridge Wells town centre manager, Karen Pengelly, says the reason behind some of the closures is the looming regeneration.

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The Royal Victoria Place shopping centre in Tunbridge Wells
The Royal Victoria Place shopping centre in Tunbridge Wells

It comes as the latest report from the Office for National Statistics reveals retail across the nation has dropped by 1.5% from November.

It isn't worrying Ms Pengelly though, who says high streets are changing because of the evolution of online shopping, and with that comes more of an appetite for experiences.

She says: "My understanding is the shop units are intentionally vacant because of the redevelopment.

"I speak to a number of businesses and of the few requests I've put in about Christmas trading, I'm seeing a slight increase.

WATCH: Shops get ready for redevelopment

"We're seeing at the moment a slightly higher number of vacant units than the national average.

"All high streets over the last years have been evolving because of online shopping.

"Of course that will take some footfall away from the high streets.

"There's a different trend towards leisure and experience. I think it's really positive and upbeat."

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