Pub among suggestions to help revive fortunes of The Square

December 20 2017

A decent family pub would be a positive addition to The Square in Cheswick Village, and would bring the community together.

by Rebecca Day

A decent family pub would be a positive addition to The Square in Cheswick Village, and would bring the community together.

This is what some local residents have been saying on social media following the recent closure of the World Foods supermarket in The Square.

The closure was reported in Filtonvoice last month.

Residents worry that high rents and vacant units are driving businesses away from the area, and residents are calling on owners, Balfour Beatty and agents, Alder King to reduce the costs.

Pub among suggestions to revive square in Cheswick Village

Local resident Christine Taylor, commented on Facebook: “Sadly I know of two interested buyers who have walked away because of the empty units.”

World Foods told Filtonvoice last month that they closed due to “poor trading conditions” in The Square and that their footfall was “close to nothing”.

Hao Wei, a Chinese takeaway still operating in The Square, told Filtonvoice that “things are looking bleak” for the area.

They said: “Empty units aren't attractive and this has no pull for further custom. With no pull to the area there is no further growth for existing businesses. Having a majority full or completely full square of businesses offering a wide variety of goods and services will only help each other to succeed and would offer the Cheswick community greatly needed services and goods on their doorstep.

“Rents are more likened to city centre rates of rent, you can rent units on Gloucester Road for less than half of what is being charged here. The feeling in Cheswick is that they can't understand the rationale behind these rates.

“I remain hopeful it's a great place to be running a business the community have been very supportive of us and its been a pleasure serving our food to these lovely people for the last year. There is a wonderful community spirit here and we all just want it to succeed.”

Sandy Wilshire said: “I personally think that a pub/bar would revive the square. Think it would bring the whole community together even more, and add a much-needed social aspect to the square!”

Paul Randall said: “A good pub serving good food would be a good thing for the community.”

However, some worry that a pub would have a negative impact on the village and would prefer something similar to the Lounge or Grounded bars.

Katherine Aston said: “I don’t want a pub as it promotes the wrong behaviours. But a good lounge that serves hot food, drink and alcoholic beverages is definitely an idea.”

Ben Clark said: “The pub discussion keeps coming up as if though there are a load of pubs queuing up to open and yet they are being stopped.

“No pub wanted to open here and I highly doubt they would. The pub trade is very hard and they are shutting down at the rate of knots. Opening one up in a quiet residential area close to discounted student bars is not going to be high on anyone's list.”

Charlotte Ashbridge said: “We have to respect that there are lots of different people living here. I think we need a real mix. I love to see some little bistro restaurants or delis popping up. I really hate seeing it all empty; makes the place look very unloved and run down.”

Other ideas residents have shared, include:  

  • Soft play centre
  • Hairdressers
  • Deli/bakery
  • Community centre
  • Tapas bar
  • Gym
  • Dry cleaners
  • Florist
  • Bike repair shop

Balfour Beatty – the developers of the Square – says that that it is currently in negotiations with retailers to secure the remaining sites. A spokesperson said: “We continually monitor the cost of our retail units to ensure prices are in line with standard market value. 

“Since completion in 2015, nine of the available units have been leased and are in working operation.

“We will work closely with our letting agents, Alder King and Insight to seek new tenants for the remaining vacant units and we are currently in negotiations with a variety of retailers to secure the outstanding sites as soon as possible.”