Shopping boost for Drayton Road, Mile Cross in Norwich

Business is picking up at a Norwich shopping square where just one unit now remains empty, compared to three a year ago.

The two most recent arrivals at the square off Drayton Road in Mile Cross are Margaret Emms Florists and Emma's Unisex Hair Salon, leaving just the former Ansa domestic appliance shop empty. Mary Murray took over Margaret Emms Florist, which has another shop in St Stephens Road, about eight years ago.

She said: 'We opened the shop in Drayton Road earlier this year. It has been going well, but it takes time to establish any business. There used to be a florist there but it closed, but people are getting used to having a florist there again, and some of the old customers are coming back.

'I think having the new businesses in the square will bring in different types of customer, and I know the newsagent has already seen new faces.'

Meanwhile, other business in the square are now hoping the remaining shop is soon occupied.

John Fenwick, partner at HJ Newsagents, which has been in the square for 16 years, said: 'If the council had not done anything about filling those two empty shops, then we would have asked for a rent reduction.

'Having empty shops does bring the area down, but we cannot really grumble about our trade here. But let's hope that someone now moves into the one remaining empty shop.'

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Staff at the kebab shop in the square also said they wanted the last empty shop to be taken soon.

A Norwich City Council spokesman said: 'Thriving neighbourhood shops are an asset and as a council we would encourage local people to use them as much as possible so they can be retained.'

The square has also benefited from the addition of a cash machine outside the Drayton Road post office, and CCTV cameras have also been installed.

Do you know of a business or shop heading to Norwich? Call reporter David Bale on 01603 772427 or email