Saturday, 19 August 2017

Empty shop could house new business

A FASHION retailer could soon be opening in a prime Henley shop unit that has stood empty for four years.

Estate agent Savills says a “well-known” company is considering signing a lease on the former Hearn of Henley shoe store in Market Place.

It declined to name the trader but confirmed it was a household name and was known for selling “high-quality” goods.

Associate director Darren Feldon said: “It’s a name that is not in Henley at the moment. It has quite a small presence with only a few shops in London and in Marlow but it is pretty high-end.

“We cannot give more information as everything hinges on the planning application.”

Savills’ Oxford branch has applied to South Oxfordshire District Council for planning permission to refurbish the Grade II listed premises as they have fallen into disrepair.

Mr Feldon said: “We are really just looking to convert the premises into a base shell, to create a clean, ‘white box’ that the tenant can fit out themselves.”

In its application, Savills says the premises have developed rising damp since they closed in mid-2010.

It wants to reinforce the floor beams in the basement as well as installing a damp-proof lining and treating the timbers for woodworm.

On the ground floor, it would replace the floorboards, plaster and repaint the walls and replace parts of the ceiling which are affected by dry rot. The shop windows would either be restored or replaced and a new central heating system installed.

On Tuesday, Henley Town Council’s planning committee recommended the scheme for approval.

Councillor Lorraine Hillier said: “It is very nice to see work finally being carried out there so that no further deterioration can take place.”

Town centre Peter McConnell manager told the Henley Standard: “I’m pleased to see that a planning application has finally gone in.

“Hopefully, this will be approved and the work will begin sooner rather than later so the unit can be back in action as a viable business.”

According to Savills’ historic assessment, the three-storey building was built in either the late 18th or early 19th century and has been used as a shop since the Sixties.

The Hearn of Henley logo which adorned the store’s fascia was painted over this week.

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