MORE than half of the empty shops in Abingdon were filled this year thanks to a council project to help independent traders.

At the start of the scheme, which started in 2017, Vale of White Horse District Council aimed to help improve the town centre by reducing the number of empty units and supporting existing retailers.

With 14 units being ‘empty and available’ in the centre of Abingdon, the council worked with the property owners and local businesses to match suitable locations for retailers looking to start trading.

This resulted in eight vacant units being occupied, including Oxford Etsy taking over the pop-up shop in Bury Street between November and December last year.

As part of the project, the council also funded a Google My Business pilot for nine existing Abingdon retailers.

A Google expert visited each owner to teach them how to market their own shop for free on Google.

Mike Murray, Cabinet member at the council, said: “The project has been a great success in reducing the empty units and quite literally put nine existing businesses ‘on the Google map’. This project is just one of the many activities we do each year to support organisations of all sizes based in our district.”

Business owners can find out more on how the council can support their growth by contacting