CONCERNS have been raised over business rents in Stroud after two more shops announced they were closing.

Fruit and veg shop Four Seasons in Threadneedle Street, which opened just three years ago, shut recently while menswear store Cordell's in the Five Valleys Shopping Centre - is closing in the near future.

It follows the recent closures of town centre restaurant Tomari-G and Halfords.

In addition, the relocation of Specsavers to the shopping centre - and the future closure of Shoe Zone - will leave two more vacant units.

With so many units vacant, concerns have been raised on social media about rental costs.

This week, the SNJ looked at the rental costs of several town centre units.

We found the Four Seasons unit advertised at £24,000 per year, the former Shaws for £32,500 a year, the old Electric Bike Shop for £16,000 a year, the Cake Cafe in High Street for £25,000 a year while the former Peacocks was available for £96,000 a year.

Tony Davey, chair of Stroud Chamber of Trade: "There are concerns around some upward rent reviews in locations across the town.

"They may reflect increases being incurred by the landlords and increases in their management agent fees but sometimes seem entirely unaligned to the current economic situation in high streets across the country.

"Regrettably, there is little incentive to let properties, which can create its own problems in our towns."

Meanwhile, a spokesperson Cordell's said the closure of Wilko, plus issues such as staff shortages and the cost-of-living crisis, had lead to their decision to close.

They said: “It’s with a very heavy heart that we have made this decision.

"It wasn't an easy one to make as over the last two years we have had support from many loyal customers, who in many a case have become friends.

“However, many a factor has had to be considered, including staff shortages, the ongoing cost-of-living crisis and the current 200-mile round trip we make to staff the shop ourselves.

“Business is difficult at the moment for most industries, and we’ve found it no different.

“The closure of Wilko was also a consideration as it bought many people into the centre.

“We hope that once the new tenants are in the old Wilko store, the centre will thrive again."

A spokesperson for Dransfield, which owns the shopping centre, said: “We have enjoyed working with the Cordell’s team for the past three years.

“We are speaking with several interested parties regarding the vacant units at Five Valleys and hope to make further announcements soon.”

Mr Davey added that that the menswear shop had been a welcome addition to the town.

“Cordell’s has been a welcome addition to our town, taking up the dedicated gentlemen’s outfitters baton that had been held by other businesses that had closed before it," he said.

"It's regrettable that many of the social media comments, following their announcement, indicated the public were unaware of its existence in town.

"This further highlights the importance of the message that there is value in fully exploring your local town and not just the streets and routes you are familiar with.

"All our towns are likely to contain businesses that are not widely known, but are valuable - so please invest time in seeking them out when you next visit.”

The owners of Four Seasons declined to comment.

Work has now started on turning the Wilko site into two units while a Tesco Express will replace Halfords.