Traders in Granby Street, Leicester, want action to help 'dead' city centre route
Business owners are concerned at the number of empty shops in what used to be a busy street.
At least 16 shops and offices in Granby Street, Leicester, are empty.
Jaswinder Lidder, owner of City Surplus Army and Navy outdoor clothing and equipment store, said: "Six years ago, the street was still quite vibrant.
"This used to be the main shopping street in Leicester but since then many businesses have either stopped trading or moved.
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"The vacant shops bring the tone of the area down and put off shoppers."
Fabio Vassallo, general manager of San Carlo Italian restaurant, said: "This is supposed to be the city centre and it doesn't look good."
Another retailer, who did not want to be named, said: "I don't see the point in even talking about it – Granby Street is dead."
Recent companies to move out or close include Game Station, La Tasca restaurant, Blacks, Burger King and Cecil Jacobs.
Jessops is moving to the former Clinton Cards store in Gallowtree Gate.
The closures come despite a revamp which saw £3 million invested by the city council in paving, road layout and cycle lanes and the filling in of the underpass near the railway station.
But shoppers and visitors were unimpressed.
Emma Billingham, 20, a student who lives in Leicester's West End, said: "I don't normally come down here – it's not a nice side of town.
"The roads have improved, but they could have spent more on improving shops."
Julie Harrison, 45, of Leicester, said: "The street looks a bit run-down and dead."
Christine Guthrie, 63, of Oakham, said: "It looks like a rough area to me, judging by all the empty shops."
Mr Vassallo said: "The city council did the right thing by resurfacing Granby Street but after three years of disruption from the work, businesses need help – reduced rates would be an idea, at least in the short-term.
"The council also needs to do something to improve the appearance of the empty shops and deal with the piles of rubbish in alleyways."
Khalid Mohamad, manager of Wisla supermarket, said: "There needs to be an action plan to promote business.
"This should be a very good area right in the city centre."
City councillor Neil Clayton, whose Castle ward includes Granby Street, said: "I think the improvement works have made a huge positive difference.
"The reason for the lack of occupancy is the economy."
Fellow councillor Patrick Kitterick said: "There is cause for optimism in the long-term.
"When High Street was pedestrianised it took a couple of years to get going, and I think it will be the same for Granby Street."
Sarah Harrison, city centre director, said negotiations to reopen a number of empty premises were taking place with solicitors.