Thursday, 18 February 2016

Is Les Quennevais Precinct a lost cause?

The newsagent at Les Quennevais Precinct has been gone for a while now. At first it was the JEP's Pickwicks, then sold off and taken over as a Spar shop, and finally rebranded as Cost-Cutters, it has gone leaving two windows and door empty. Next door was Shoestring, which vanished a year ago and is also empty.

On the opposite side, the Corner Coffee Shop shut its doors last year, along with the next door butcher, and a little further down, the Barber in Color has letters falling from its fascia, and the HTL Computer Shop shut up shop at Christmas.

And at the back, the old Reegil Electrics shop, rebranded to a Tech Store, also closed its doors. Further down is a shop that has been closed for so long there is no trace of what it once was.

Back in the 1970s, I remember when it was a thriving square. Where Iceland is was a supermarket called “Grandfare”. There was a butcher, a fresh fruits and vegetable shop, a shoe shop, Roosters café / takeaway, the Hot Bread Shop, Panico’s Toy shop, and several banks (now there is only NatWest).

The high rents seem to drive traders away, but surely the landlord must be aware of that? Are there plans afoot to sell off the entire precinct to a third party, a new landlord? Obviously, empty shops would make the sale that much easier as there would be no sitting tenants. As it stands, there are a large number of shops which just sit empty. They are not even let out at peppercorn rent as charity shops!

I'm only a jobbing writer for a Parish Magazine, not an investigative journalist, and I don't have the accreditation to get in touch with the landlord (which was I believe KAV Jersey Limited) and ask searching questions. I notice that in November 2013, the JEP ran with this story:

"SHOP owners at Les Quennevais precinct have warned that high rents may force further closures unless the landlords offer more help to independent businesses."

"Passion and the Health Store have already shut their doors in recent months and some other independent traders have suggested that they may have to do the same if something is not done to combat their vast overheads"

Isn't it time the JEP or BBC revisited this question, and asked (and made public) questions of the landlords, and looked at what is really a scandalous situation?

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