Fake facades for Bridgwater shops trialled

Image caption, One former bookshop has been given a chocolate shop facade

A Somerset town is trialling fake facades for empty shops to try and entice business people to rent them.

Sedgemoor District Council is disguising empty shops in Bridgwater with the "shop jackets".

Allison Griffin, from the council, said the aim was to generate interest in the properties and give examples of how the shops could look if they were brought back into use.

She said the scheme had been a "huge success" in Whitley Bay, Tyne and Wear.

The number of empty properties there had been cut by 50%, she said.

One former bookshop has been given a chocolate shop facade.

Ms Griffin added: "I think there's a really good chance that it will bring more people in to the town.

"In the short term it makes the town centre look better and that makes everybody feel better about the environment.

"We're already getting anecdotal evidence from our letting agents that more interest is being shown, even in the last couple of weeks."

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