Kenilworth town centre must keep fighting to ensure it is not forgotten amid empty shops and the threat of HS2, warns MP Jeremy Wright.
Speaking to members of the Chamber of Trade, the Conservative MP said every effort needed to be made to keep people coming back to the town over the next ten years to keep its economy thriving.
Mr Wright told members: “This is very much a town that people want to come to, but there is still room for massive improvement on Warwick Road in terms of retail.
“We need to make sure we get retailers in the empty spaces as that road is the first thing people see in the town when they drive through.
“Transport is a big issue here. We want people to come into out town but not all on the roads which is why working on the train station is so vital.”
But he said it was not all good news amid widespread fears that construction for HS2, if it was given the green light by the Government could bring the town to its knees by closing off roads and driving off visitors.
“HS2 is not going to deliver any direct benefit to Kenilworth, he said. “We may as well accept that and the construction process will be disruptive. Overwhelmingly so.
“But we need to ensure that it does not cause any more damage than is necessary.
“We need to make it clear to visitors that those problems are not permanent and make sure we get people coming in during and after this.”
There are currently several empty units along Kenilworth’s main shopping street including the former Co-op, Electrix and Crash Bang Wallop, which closed this year.
Chamber of trade chair, Richard Hales said with a 25 per cent increase in membership, the chamber can work together to help promote the town.
“The most important thing from our point of view is to get these shops filled,”he said.
“Even though we have lower than the national average of empty shops, if they are full it will encourage more footfall in the town, which will create more business opportunities.”