Potential new ownership interest for closing-down Beales

PUBLISHED: 11:31 27 August 2016

Beales of Saffron Walden

Beales of Saffron Walden

Archant

New ownership interest has been expressed for the Beales premises when the store closes in January.

The two-floor department store on Market Square was originally granted a 10-month stay of execution in March, which postponed possession of the site by landlords Co-op.

By August however no new rental agreement could be negotiated and so closure of Beales was announced as it would no longer be profitable in 2017.

Thirty job losses are expected in Saffron Walden. It is not the only Beales store nationally which is closing.

There have been fears that the site will remain shut for a long amount of time, be unsightly in the town centre, and will start the demise of the town.

But leaseholders Co-op has revealed it has already received some expressions of interest in the site, though the firm cannot reveal who they were from.

Wendy Howell, Saffron Walden Town Team member and Design Essentials owner, said: “The Town Team’s view is that we just want it filled.

“We want it to be taken over relatively quickly, as Saffron Walden is such a lovely place to visit at the moment.”

She spoke about her own personal preference for a restaurant or boutique hotel: “There is such a lack of accommodation and I just think the town needs a hotel that people can visit.

“I even like the idea of Bills or Jamie Oliver’s – it is that type of restaurant experience the town needs and the longer Beales is left empty the town looks unattractive, especially with the scaffolding in the market.

“People don’t go into shops as much now, but you come in to a restaurant to get an experience which you can’t get online, and get some nice draw-ins to the town.”

Co-op said a deal would need to be negotiated before any new owner takes over the site.

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