Fruit and vegetable supplier SK Fruits has moved out of Castle Place Shopping Centre after lamenting the drop in footfall.

While SK Fruits may only be moving across the road to The Shires Shopping Centre, locals are becoming concerned about the state of Castle Place.

Wilko, Shaws the Draper, and Mainly’s Mica hardware stores are just a few of the other businesses to have fled the ‘dying’ shopping centre this year.

“It has been really difficult here. It is just very bad and I’ve had to lay off staff because we can’t afford them,” said 42-year-old Abdalla Elspeey, owner of SK Fruits.

“Hopefully, it will be better at The Shires. There is more traffic there.”

Wiltshire Times: Abdalla Elspeey, owner of SK Fruits, is hoping for a better future at The Shires.Abdalla Elspeey, owner of SK Fruits, is hoping for a better future at The Shires. (Image: John Baker)

While The Shires is continuing to expand and grow, with rumours of bakery retail chain Greggs setting up shop there among others, it’s looking like doom and gloom for the business owners left in Castle Place.

Only 14 tenants are left occupying space in the Castle Place shopping centre, with nine traders in the market hall, and the empty space is blindingly obvious to shoppers.

“From what I can see, Castle Place is already dead,” said regular shopper Sam Webster.

Wiltshire Times: Castle Place shopping centre is looking increasingly empty.Castle Place shopping centre is looking increasingly empty. (Image: Trevor Porter)

“The market downstairs is largely empty and most of the shops on the main floor have no tenant.

“The biggest business there by far, Wilko, went under and no one will be surprised when the new owners turn it into flats,” he added.

Colin Hayward, who has been a taxi driver in Trowbridge for the last seven years and has seen the town change said: "Saturdays used to be very busy with shoppers in that area. Now years later it's a ghost town.

"It's not rocket science, drop the rents and get the traders back in and get the old Wetherspoons opened again," he suggested.

“Would be better off knocking down Castle Place and starting over. It’s a shambles,” said Adam Baker, a regular visitor from Frome in Somerset.

The previous £1.2 million deal to buy Castle Place collapsed in July when the potential buyer failed to complete the purchase, leaving the future of the shopping centre uncertain.

But with SK Fruits officially gone, one Wiltshire local pointed out:

“We need to support the remaining businesses in Castle Place, like Castle Place Butchers, otherwise we will lose them forever.”