A LEADING retail property specialist is planning to give Hexham businesses a boost.

Bob Fletcher, a director at @retail, has been appointed to the board of Hexham Community Partnership with the aim of strengthening the partnership’s links with the local business community.

He has 36 years of experience in advising owners and occupiers of retail property in high streets, shopping centres and out of town sectors, and has been appointed in the hope of improving the retail offer from town businesses.

He said: “I am delighted to have been asked to join the partnership’s board and I hope my experience can contribute to developing and nurturing strategies which can be of benefit to Hexham generally, and its retailers in particular.

“This is a particularly difficult time for retailers operating in physical stores on the high street and the challenges from online sales and strong competition from some major retail destinations close by are a real and present threat to the vitality of many high streets including Hexham.

“The partnership is determined to create and curate events and activities within the town centre which contribute to making Hexham a great place to work, live, play and shop, and I look forward to being a part of that.”

Until recently, Mr Fletcher was a non-executive director at the Tyneside Cinema and was previously equity director and national head of retail agency with Newcastle-based Sanderson Weatherall.

Partnership chairman, Peter Rodger, said: “We are thrilled to welcome Bob to the board. He brings a wealth of experience and expertise and will be a tremendous asset to Hexham Community Partnership and further our mission to help Hexham thrive.”