Newcastle-under-Lyme sees more empty shops
There has been a significant increase in empty shop space in a Staffordshire town, BBC research has shown.
The percentage of vacant premises on Newcastle-under-Lyme's town centre has increased from 8.7% to nearly 15% in the past 12 months, it found.
The town saw slightly above the national average of 14% of empty premises, the research by BBC's Inside Out programme found.
But Newcastle Borough Council said the town was undergoing a transformation.
Neale Clifton, the council's executive director for regeneration and development, said it planned to encourage more businesses to the town.
"It does have a really solid backbone of independent retailers that frankly most town centres would die for," he said.
"And that's important to strengthen and harness what is there as well as strengthen the street market."
A new survey commissioned by BBC Inside Out revealed that in the majority of towns and cities in the West Midlands region between 10% and 16% of shops were vacant.
Wolverhampton and Birmingham have the highest shop vacancy rate at 24% and 23% respectively.
Solihull was the best performer in the West Midlands area with only 6% of shops vacant.
Inside Out West Midlands at 1930 GMT on BBC1 on Monday, 6 December.