Frustrations over St Albans’ eyesore store

Melvyn Teare outside Isis, is unhappy that the shop has been left to become an eyesore in a prime lo

Melvyn Teare outside Isis, is unhappy that the shop has been left to become an eyesore in a prime location in the city centre - Credit: Archant

ST ALBANS stalwarts are fed up with an “eyesore” empty shop blighting the historic core of the city’s retail centre, which has water-stained paper peeling inside its windows.

Situated at 1 Market Place the former Isis store, which once sold crystals and alternative therapies, is in desperate need of a bit of healing itself,

It has been blasted as an “absolute eyesore” by Melvyn Teare, a former councillor and past president of St Albans District Chamber of Commerce.

He explained that the premises had been empty for about two years, despite being located next door to the Clock Tower.

Melvyn said: “It should be let immediately for the summer season with a pop-up shop as an adjunct to the Clock Tower and Tourist Information Centre, promoting St Albans activities.”

In a snapshot survey of tourists in the city centre the Herts Advertiser was told by visitors, “it looks terrible”.

One couple said: “Everybody has to walk past this, and it could be a nice vista but it looks terrible, it’s horrible.”

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And local businessman Kirit Kumar, owner of Cuthberts Toys, Christopher Place, warned it could be a sign that landlords were “not doing enough to help businesses”.

Eric Roberts, from the St Albans Civic Society said it was the society’s view that the shop had been empty for too long.

Eric went on: “There is an ongoing problem with shops closing. And it is an eyesore. We would be happy to dress the windows with information about events, so it looks tidier and less neglected and vacant.”

Alistair Woodgate, chairman of St Albans Retail Forum and owner of Rumball Sedgwick chartered surveyors, St Peter’s Street, said it would be great to “bring life back into the building”.

He said there could be “many reasons” for it to remain unoccupied for such a long time, particularly as it was listed.

The shop is currently available for lease through London-based agency Harmer Ray Hoffbrand (HRH). According to its website the 2,072 sq ft property is available on a 10-year lease. The agency had not responded at the time of going to press.