Saffron Walden's flagship store gets new lease of life

PUBLISHED: 11:03 18 February 2010 | UPDATED: 22:10 31 May 2010

The former Eaden Lilley store on Market Square

The former Eaden Lilley store on Market Square

NEW life will be breathed into town centre shopping in Saffron Walden, it was revealed this week. Retail group Anglia Co-operative announced on Monday that it is set to open a new department store in the former Eaden Lilley premises on Market Square - cre

NEW life will be breathed into town centre shopping in Saffron Walden, it was revealed this week.

Retail group Anglia Co-operative announced on Monday that it is set to open a new department store in the former Eaden Lilley premises on Market Square - creating about 20 jobs in the process.

The group's retail executive, Andy Simpson, said: "We're delighted to be moving into Saffron Walden.

"We have a proven track record of supporting the communities in which we are based and look forward to serving the area."

Westgate of Saffron Walden will be a fashion-driven store offering lifestyle brands for men and women. It is expected to open in late spring.

Mr Simpson said the store will bring "key fashion and perfumery names to the town to complement Saffron Walden's existing boutiques and maintain the town's image as a popular shopping destination". It will also sell a selection of homeware and gift products and benefit from a café on the second floor.

Mr Simpson added: "The opening will bring approximately 20 jobs to the town - a combination of full and part-time positions.

"It will be using the whole of the former Eaden Lilley store, but there will no structural changes as we wish to retain as much of the character of the building as possible."

The building closed in January 2009 after the Eaden Lilley group went into administration, although it was used by the Teenage Cancer Trust for six months last year to raise £30,000 for the charity.

But news that it is to finally be filled has been met with approval.

Founder of the Shop Local campaign, Cllr Mike Hibbs, said: "It is very sad to see the place empty - the building is at the heart of the town and makes the Market Square a very special place.

"So I think this is very good news for Saffron Walden."

Save Walden Town Centre was set up to combat the threat of supermarket developments to local shop and spokesman Paul Gadd hailed the move as a "vote of confidence in the town centre".

"We've received a certain amount of negative feedback during our campaign, with some people believing the town centre to be in terminal decline, and hopefully the Co-op opening and the proposed new QD store will reverse this attitude," he said.

"We would hope that the new store will help to increase the footfall in the town centre, create more jobs and therefore benefit the town as a whole."

Westgate has 24 stores throughout the country and prides itself on offering 'more choice, more quality and excellent value for money'.

WHAT DO YOU THINK? E-mail us at editor@saffronwalden-reporter.co.uk or call 01799 512882.

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