Huntly used to be known for its flourishing retail sector. However, as a result of lifestyle changes, competition from regional shopping centres such as Aberdeen, Elgin and Inverurie, local edge of town developments and the internet, Huntly’s town centre retail area is under growing pressure. A number of empty shops are available and any that become occupied tend to be filled by non-retail uses, such as estate agents or charity shops.
Local traders have proven adaptable in the face of the challenges described above and e.g. have developed Scotland’s first Town Loyalty SmartCard Scheme rewarding customers for shopping locally. However, more action is required if Huntly is to retain footfall and an interesting retail offer in the town centre. This was a priority issue in the community consultation on the establishment of HDT.
Whilst no magic wand is available, HDT felt that there are lessons to be learned from elsewhere. As a result, HDT commissioned Douglas Wheeler Associates to undertake a study into what could be done. Desktop research, extensive telephone and on-street interviews, one-to-one interviews with local business owners and a public consultation provided a great deal of useful information. A ten-point action plan emerged from the study, which HDT and Huntly Business Association have adopted as the way ahead.
Download the report here Huntly Retail Sector Final 090611