Page last updated at 15:16 GMT, Friday, 30 January 2009

Posters to brighten empty shops

Shoppers walk past vacant premises
Brightly coloured posters will advertise the empty shop

The growing number of empty shops in Norwich has prompted a campaign using brightly coloured window posters to attract new businesses.

The campaign, by the City Centre Partnership (CCP), is designed to keep vacant shop frontages attractive.

There are about 20 empty units in the central shopping district.

Retailers, landlords and tenants are being asked to put up brightly coloured posters which will advertise the empty shop and the city.

Peter Mitchell, chairman of CCP, said streets should not have "large To Let signs in dark, soulless, shop windows".

Stefan Gurney, CCP manager, acknowledged the 20 or so empty units in the London Street area were bad for the city's image.

He said: "No one wants to see that. But we're obviously very much aware in the economic downturn that these things will happen."

Carole Cooper from chartered surveyors Francis Darrah said rents are coming down.

She said: "We are seeing rents generally coming down, landlords won't thank me for saying that, but we are.

"I think that this whole economic situation is meaning landlords and tenants are having to work together."

The pilot scheme is taking place in London Street, Bank Plain and St Stephens Street.

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