Denny shop bosses hope for brighter future

Residents moved out of Church Walk 10 years ago, but many businesses remain
Residents moved out of Church Walk 10 years ago, but many businesses remain
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The flats are empty but many of the shops in Church Walk remain open.

More than 10 businesses are still trading in the dilapidated blocks in Denny town centre.

Partial demolition of the section facing Duke Street will begin this August, but it is still undecided when the rest will be flattened.

Until all the commercial premises in Church Walk are vacated, the regeneration of the town centre, which is so badly wanted by many residents, cannot fully begin.

The situation is complex as a number of shops are owned by private landlords, meaning that Falkirk Council has to negotiate before they can be bought out.

The council can enforce compulsory purchase orders if necessary.

The air of uncertainty which hangs over Church Walk, when added to an already sluggish economy, makes some extremely tough trading conditions for the people still trying to make a living there.

Bill Main runs Naylor Opticians at 95 Church Walk.

He said: “When they moved the residents out of the flats above ten years ago, it killed the town. It has never recovered.

“The past six months have been especially bad. Business has declined dramatically.”

Bill, whose shop is rented on a long-term lease from the council, added he was unsure where his business would move to when Church Walk was eventually demolished.

A few doors along at 93 Church Walk, Betty Clark, owner of Forever Flowers, agreed with Bill’s analysis.

She said: “This used to be such a thriving wee town. The past six to eight months have been very tough.

“It would be easy to blame Church Walk, but personally, I think it’s because people just no longer shop in the town. Regeneration would make a difference. It would give Denny a lift and hopefully entice people back.”

Towards Denny Cross, a variety of businesses are still trading. Lloyds pharmacy, which provides a vital service for many residents, is close to where the first phase of demolition will begin.

A spokesperson for the company said: “Lloydspharmacy is currently in talks with Falkirk Council and the developer Henry Boot with regards to the future of our pharmacy in Denny. We’re extremely keen to remain part of the retail offering within the town centre and will work closely with them to ensure this is the case.”