Ladbrokes to bring Swan Centre in Rugby to life after two years lying empty

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DRAMATICALLY diminishing trade at a bookmakers in Rugby is forcing the company to relocate within the town after 34 years on the High Street.

Ladbrokes is moving from the High Street to the Swan Centre next to Asda on May 30.

Following the move - which will also mark the first of the Swan Centre units opening for business - the current Ladbrokes in the High Street will close. The bookmakers has attributed the move to declining trade in the High Street and says it is vital to keep the business going.

Jackie Wilkinson, regional promotions manager for Ladbrokes, said: “Ladbrokes has traded from their current premises, 14 High Street, since February 1977, and over the last five years the shopping and footfall in the centre of the town has shifted, with the result that our business has dramatically diminished.

“It is without doubt that unless Ladbrokes make this move, their presence after 34 years in Rugby town centre will be lost and subsequently jobs as well.”

Ladbrokes said it is currently recruiting and creating new jobs in the area. The new shop will employ eight members of staff.

The long-awaited Chapel Street development was completed in spring 2009, includes Asda, the Co-op and 14 other retail units known as the Swan Centre.

While reaction to Asda and the Co-op attract thousands of shoppers each day, the 14 retail units have remained empty until now.

Mrs Wilkinson said: “It’s a very exciting project, especially as Ladbrokes will be the first, and therefore anchor trader, in the new Swan Centre.”

In the Market Place and High Street there are currently eight empty shops and traders say it is having a knock-on effect.

Marion Markey, manager at PDSA, said: “Now the 99p store has changed to Home Bargains footfall has gone down.”

Another, who asked to remain anonymous, suggested that the layout of the market should be changed so it stretches up into High Street.

A shopper, who used to own a shop in the town centre, said: “Rugby is diabolical. There’s nothing here to come for.”

However Robin Richter, managing director at town centre company Rugby First, said footfall in the Market Place leading into the High Street has been up for the last four months compared to last year’s figures.