Empty shops staying vacant in Cleveleys after businesses leave

It is often called the jewel in Wyre’s crown but more shops appear to be remaining empty in Cleveleys town centre longer than previously.
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The town’s high street on Victoria Road West still has plenty of shops and many visitors still call in to visit and relax in the town’s plentiful diners, tea rooms and coffee houses.

But some of the shops vacated by businesses last year are still empty, a phenomenon which has previously been a relative rarity in the bustling seaside town.

Thomas Cook’s old premises

The former Irene's Diner (left) and the old Thomas Cook outlet, on Victoiria Road West, Cleveleys.The former Irene's Diner (left) and the old Thomas Cook outlet, on Victoiria Road West, Cleveleys.
The former Irene's Diner (left) and the old Thomas Cook outlet, on Victoiria Road West, Cleveleys.
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The business premises at 69 Victoria Road, a prominent location in the heart of the high street, was for many years occupied by the Thomas Cook travel agents.

However, when that company went bust in September 2019, Hays Travel bought Cook's retail estate, taking over the shop in Cleveleys.

Hays then decided to move to bigger premises at 94 Victoria Road West, staging a launch party there in January 6 2023.

More than a year later, the old premises at number 69 remain empty.

The formet HSBC branch in  CleveleysThe formet HSBC branch in  Cleveleys
The formet HSBC branch in Cleveleys

Irene’s Cafe departed

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Irene’s Cafe opened its doors at 86 Victoria Road West in July 2022, offering residents unlimited hot breakfast, cereal, pastries and toast.

The establishment proved a hit – so much so that the owners said it had outgrown the shop unit and the team decamped to a larger unit in October last year.

Meanwhile, the original premises remain empty.

Merkur Slots closed

In August 2020, new bingo and adult gaming centre Merkur Slots was opened at 76 Victoiria Road West by Cashino Gaming Ltd, moving into the former Coral betting shop premises.

However, Merkur Slots closed around a year ago, as a licence was granted for bigger premises on Abingdon Street in Blackpool, and the Cleveleys site is still empty.

Vision Express

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In summer last year the town’s Vision Express outlet at 71 Victoria Road West closed – and the shop unit remains empty.


And the town’s former HSBC branch closed in August 21, having operated from prominent premises on the corner of Victoria Road West and Rossall Road, in Victoria Square.

The building remains empty and has been a target for vandals.

Last year Wyre Council said businsess in Cleveleys town centre were well supported, following criticism from a departing gift shop owner.

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Donna Jerome, of the Muriel and May home interiors shop which closed last September, said: “The problem with trying to run a shop on Victoria Road West is that the rents are too high and the business rates are astronomical.

"How anyone can run a business there is beyond me.”

But Wyre Council responded: “Business rates are set nationally by the government and the Valuation Office Agency (VOA), however the council works to support businesses where possible.

"We distributed £53million to businesses in grant funding during the pandemic and business support is available through the Wyred Up and Lancashire Boost programmes.”

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