Laura Ashley to close St Albans store

PUBLISHED: 14:59 09 July 2008 | UPDATED: 13:25 06 May 2010

FASHION chain Laura Ashley is shutting its landmark St Albans city-centre store on Saturday. The closure of the two-storey shop, which is housed in the historic 17th-century building which fronts Market Place at its junction with French Row, is understo

FASHION chain Laura Ashley is shutting its landmark St Albans city-centre store on Saturday.

The closure of the two-storey shop, which is housed in the historic 17th-century building which fronts Market Place at its junction with French Row, is understood to be as a result of a substantial rent rise.

The district council's Culture and Heritage Portfolio Holder, Cllr Melvyn Teare described it as a prime retail site for which there had already been an application to change its use into a restaurant in 2005.

He stressed that the council was not happy at the thought of the building standing empty but at the same time did not want to find the landlord putting pressure on to convert it into some other use such as a restaurant for which it was not zoned.

Eric Roberts of St Albans Civic Society said that to become a restaurant, the building would have to apply for change of use. He added: "We would resist it because it's in a prime retail location and quite frankly I don't think St Albans needs another restaurant. Don't let us have any more at the expense of retail.

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