Tuesday, 28 September 2021

"Henley people don't support local shops"

A PICTURE framing shop in Henley has closed after less than a year of trading.

A PICTURE framing shop in Henley has closed after less than a year of trading.

Richard Ellis, who opened Memories 4 U at the former Sno and Surf Gear unit in Market Place Mews in October, left the premises on Friday.

The former salesman said he regretted opening in Henley and wished he had chosen Marlow instead.

The closure came as the retail mews changed ownership. It used to be owned by the DeStefano Property Group, which went into administration in December. Last week, it was bought by asset managers Catalyst Capital in a deal for 19 former DeStefano properties worth almost £55million.

Mr Ellis, 50, of Kennylands Road, Sonning Common, said he hoped to continue trading online.

He said: ?People in Henley don?t seem to support local businesses. I wish I?d gone to Marlow when I had the chance but I thought I should stay in the area. That was my worst mistake ever.

?Everyone says they want decent local shops rather than estate agents and coffee shops but they buy online or go to Reading.

?I employed 14 local craftsmen living mostly within 15 miles whereas the money spent in big chains goes to national companies. It?s very sad because this was my dream but Henley didn?t want it.?

London and Henley Properties, a subsidiary of the DeStefano Property Group, had planning permission to redevelop the mews into 14 flats and 16,000 sq ft of retail space. This was granted in 2007 and extended by South Oxfordshire District Council in 2010 but expired in 2013. Mr Ellis said: ?Redeveloping the site won?t make things better. It?s just a means for the landlord to make more money.

?They won?t attract local businesses because they?ll want to charge too much rent. I couldn?t afford it here, let alone on the high street.

?They?ll put in some fancy restaurants and shops but won?t put anything in that?s needed, like an electrical shop. Those will draw plenty of trade during the royal regatta but they?ll be dead on a wet Tuesday in November.?

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