Tuesday, 28 September 2021

Hat shop shuts due to mews redevelopment

A HAT-MAKER has left her Henley shop after just 15 months but hopes to stay in the town.

A HAT-MAKER has left her Henley shop after just 15 months but hopes to stay in the town.

Louise Claire Millinery has moved out of the unit in Market Place due to the “uncertainty” over the imminent redevelopment of Market Place Mews.

Louise Walton, who runs the business and also has a shop in Wallingford, is looking for new premises in Henley.

A sign on the window of the vacant unit says: “Due to the uncertainty of the imminent building works, we have decided to relocate while we look for new premises.

“We look forward to returning to Henley in the near future. Thank you to all our customers.”

Louise Claire Millinery moved into the former Revolution store in May last year.

Ms Walton has owned a shop in Wallingford for 10 years and, at the time of opening her Henley shop, said she already had many customers in the town.

Asset managers Catalyst Capital, who own Market Place Mews, are to redevelop the area into 14 flats and 16,000 sq ft of retail space.

Planning permission was granted in 2007, when the mews was owned by the DeStefano Property Group, a parent company of London and Henley Properties, which later went into administration. Ms Walton’s business is the latest shop to leave the mews.

The Florists Stemtation closed in January but the business continues to trade online.

Antiques shop the Vintage Look moved to the former Spirited Wines premises in Market Place earlier this summer but is now closing as the shop space is needed by the developer for access and storage.

Meanwhile, an independent estate agent opened in Henley this week.

Penny & Sinclair, which already has two offices in Oxford and one in Burford, has moved into Speaker’s House in Hart Street, which used to be occupied by another estate agent, Sotheby’s, until that closed about two years ago.

The new branch will employ three people, including director James Donigan, who previously ran Davis Tate’s Henley office.

He said: “It’s all very familiar to me — I worked there for four-and-a-half years.

“We have got a really good, experienced team who know the town inside out.

“Rather than having lots of branches everywhere, we’ll be covering quite a large area from the Henley office. It’s a strategic move so that we now cover north, central and now southern Oxfordshire and Henley is a great place to do that from.

“It’s a beautiful office and a brilliant location. All the other offices are very jealous of our premises.”

The business will hold a launch party tonight (Friday).

Sotheby’s opened its sixth regional office at Speaker’s House in August 2012.

At the time of its closure, parent company Countrywide plc said it had decided to sell the franchise agreement.

Meanwhile, a mother and baby boutique will open next month.

JoJo Maman Bébé will take over the former CC shop in Market Place, which was part of a group owned by the collapsed menswear chain Austin Reed.

The store will stock baby and children’s clothes and a maternity collection plus nursery products, toys and gifts.

The company started 24 years ago and now has more than 74 stores.

Laura Tenison, founder and managing director, said: “Henley has long been on our agenda after receiving lots of emails from young families wanting us to open but finding the right location took time.”

An opening date has not been confirmed but the shop is currently being refurbished.

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