Closures spark slump fears

PROMINENT Beaufort Street restaurants Cantina 663 and Red Cray closed last week sparking fears the area has entered another slump.

The closures come in the wake of news reports that some commercial rents on Beaufort St are higher than those in the CBD.

Extortionate rents, too many franchises, and customers spending less have all been blamed for businesses going bust on Beaufort Street, while Red Cray said it was down to “circumstances that were out of our control”.

Perth MP John Carey, who founded the Beaufort Street Network, is imploring landlords to reduce rents to ensure a good mix of franchises and independent businesses.

As the Voice went to print he was due to speak at a Property Council of WA event about keeping town centres vibrant and activated.

He said the current situation on Beaufort Street “is a clear demonstration that if you do not have the right commercial property mix, then it can have devastating consequences for a street.

“I understand property owners aren’t running a charity and they want strong financial returns, but their choices about elevating rent to a very high level, and their choices about who they’re [leasing to] – which is franchises – has serious consequences for Beaufort Street as a destination.”

He says too many franchises could turn Beaufort Street into just another shopping centre with the same old brands.

Mr Carey said he’d spoken to one Beaufort Street trader who was planning to relocate to the CBD as they could get a cheaper lease there.

He says he has faith in the Beaufort Street Network, chaired by Joshua O’Keefe, which was finalising an action plan that involved “activation (doing stuff on the streets), advocacy (facilitating conversations with government on behalf of businesses and residents) and promotion (spreading the word of Beaufort Street to the wider population)”.

The BSN was traditionally focused on the strip south of Walcott Street, but it’s looking to extend its influence into the northern area which is part of Stirling council.

by DAVID BELL

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