I noticed that Scope are moving in to the premises in Railway Street previously occupied by Thomas Cook. I am not against charity shops but this will make 8 in the town centre (including Emmaus in North Road).
I do not actively subscribe to the favoured opinion that a shop trading whatever it is, is better than an empty shop. I happen to believe that serious efforts ought to be made to encourage a national retailer to locate to Hertford. In 2007 East Herts Council commissioned a Retail and Town Centre Study from Chase & Partners (who had offices in Regent Street, London). They noted in Appendix C within the study of the five main East Herts towns that Hertford ranks highly in the number of published retailer requirements - 64 - which is a healthy figure for a town of Hertford's size.
I quote: The list of retailers includes Argos, Austin Reed, Bon Marche, Laura Ashley, Phase Eight, Ponden Mill, Sainsbury's, Fat Face, TK Maxx and B&Q. These are well known brands, many considered 'top flight' retailers which can add significantly to a town's retail offer.' I understood that these were part of a much larger hit list.
I would really like to know what effort has been made to encourage any of these to the town. Sainsbury's told me that they had been looking at Hertford for almost 30 years and were pleased to secure the McMullen site. As for the others I do not know. Woolworth's went empty and MacDonalds remains a home for distressed pigeons. We continue to be blessed with coffee shops, hairdressers and smoothie bars. I have no beef with the owners of these places - anyone opening a new business in these times gets my vote - but these places are not going to attract the day tripper looking for a designer bag to cart away their afternoons designer label shopping.