Eden market town bucking national high street trend


While traditional high streets across the UK are seeing shops closing and premises boarded up, a market town in the heart of the Eden Valley is experiencing a renaissance, with all independent traders opening new businesses.

Local Data Company (LDC) research for accountancy firm PwC statistics show an average of 48 shops, restaurants and other leisure and hospitality venues closed permanently every day across England, Wales and Scotland last year, and only 21 opened. However, in Appleby-in-Westmorland every town centre retail unit is now occupied, with a new Italian restaurant, specialist gift shop and café opening this month.

Mayor of Appleby, Gareth Hayes said: “People really appreciate the service and quality they receive from their local independent businesses. And visitors to Appleby are delighted to find a bustling town centre where they can enjoy buying great local produce and finding out about the provenance of the food and sourcing of their items they buy.

“Because we have a thriving community of family businesses, Appleby has something special to offer locals and tourists alike – two butchers, two bakers and even crafters who can be candlestick makers!

“We are a thriving, traditional market town, and our history has been based around commerce. Many of our shops, cafes and pubs are family businesses, and there is a great heritage of providing great customer service.

“During the lock downs, local traders worked together to deliver food and other essentials to people. The community spirit shown by shopkeepers and hospitality businesses highlights the benefits of shopping local – quality produce and great service.

“We are also seeing a revival of our Saturday market, selling artisan breads, cakes, fruit, vegetable and plants, which complement our local shops. And the full occupancy high street is a clear indication that people have confidence in Appleby as a thriving market town now and in the future.

“I am immensely proud to be Mayor of Appleby. The town is experiencing a renaissance – with pride of our past which creates the strong foundations of our future.

While international couriers ParcelHero’s predict half of the UK’s existing shop premises will have disappeared by 2030, in Appleby the only high street retail opportunities still available are one of a limited Saturday market stall pitches.

Appleby Town Clerk, Karen Lowthrop added: “We welcome new businesses to the town, and we’d love to hear from anyone interested in locating their venture in Appleby – including taking a pitch in our traditional market square.”