Winchcombe Street full for the first time in years
A GATEWAY to Cheltenham is celebrating, with all its shops occupied for the first time in three years.
Every shop at the top end of Winchcombe Street, from High Street to Albion Street, has been let.
New fast food eatery Tangberry's will complete the street's revival when it moves into the corner unit by Albion Street at the end of the month.
The shops are let by Beechwood Shopping Centre, and manager Owen Acland said: "It is the first time in years they've been full, certainly the first time since I arrived here three years ago.
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"It is fantastic news, and we have done a number of lets which have really turned this street around."
Paul Bott, whose art gallery The Crown Gallery has been in Winchcombe Street for the last 28 years, said he believed it might have been the first time since the recession hit in 2007 that the street had been filled.
He said: "The nice thing is that the street is filled with independent shops, like ours, but we also have a few franchises. People want a high street that is different, that is vibrant.
"It is what makes Cheltenham a special shopping destination. It is beautiful."
Allan Paish, store manager of bookmakers William Hill, could not remember such success for the road in the last 12 years.
"We have been here for the last 12 years, and I don't remember when it was full," said Mr Paish.
"It is great for business and for Cheltenham. It is good news for everyone, and local businesses, which we like to support."
Martin Quantock, Cheltenham town centre manager, said the positive change was due to a number of factors.
He said: "You read about green shoots of recovery in the economy, but this shows it. We are a prominent town for shopping. We are quite lucky.
"The Promenade has some niche shops, our high street has shops every town needs to have, and then we have got the value shops in the lower High Street.
"The independent shops give the town colour, which is very important to Cheltenham. We do not have just one type of shop. The change in The Brewery, the North Place car park development, the renovation of Regent Arcade, together with this, will hopefully have a positive ripple effect."