WYRE Forest District Council says it is fighting to bring retailers into Kidderminster after a discount store became the latest casualty in an area blighted by empty shops .

Council chiefs are still mulling ov er multi-million pound impro ve ment plans announced by the authority a few years ago wh ich could spruce up the town centre including Worcester Street, wh ich has bor ne the brunt of the economic downturn.

Discount superstore Hooty’ s has become the latest Worcester Street casualty after it closed follo wing the shut down of it s main site in Wi llenhall.

Its closure adds to a list of shops on the street wh ich ha ve shut in recent years , including To pshop , Dorothy Perkins and Game Station.

The Woolworths site is still empty after closing in 2008.

Hooty’ s, wh ich sold a range of items including DVDs , fishing tackle and clothes , created about 50 jobs when it opened three years ago .

In another blow, district council leader , Conservative John Campion, said a business rate relief programme that has helped businesses set up in empty shops could be scrapped due to a lack of funding.

He said: “The council continues to develop plans for the town centre , including improvements in Worcester Street that, in total, will cost £3 million.“We continue to work hard to bring and retain retailers in the district.

"We have been running a Business Rate Relief programme for the past 16 months .

"It has been ve ry successful and assisted 27 businesses to get star ted in pre viously empty premises .

“The Go ve rn ment funding for this programme is now coming to an end and there is no indication we will receive any more grants for the district council to intro- duce fur ther schemes .

The Government is proposing to bring in a new rate relief scheme , with the amount of discount de pendent on the rateable value of the shop .

“The lower the value, the more help they’ ll receive."