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Waterstones to shut in County Square shopping centre, Ashford

A popular bookstore will leave its prime town centre spot within days – but is hoping to reopen in another store soon.

Waterstones in County Square, Ashford, will close its doors for the final time this Sunday (June 2).

Waterstones in County Square, Ashford, is set to close
Waterstones in County Square, Ashford, is set to close

It comes as a yet-unknown retailer is expected to move into its unit in the shopping centre.

A spokesperson for the bookseller confirmed the news, saying: “Disappointingly, the landlord decided not to renew our lease but to relet to a different occupier.

“We are now actively looking for suitable new premises in town.”

A notice on the door adds: “Thank you to all our lovely customers and we hope to see you again soon in Ashford.”

County Square bosses have been contacted for comment.

After the closure, the only site within a 10-mile radius will be in Tenterden High Street, with the Canterbury, Folkestone and Rye branches within 15 miles of the soon-to-be-shut bookstore.

The sign on the door of Waterstones in County Square
The sign on the door of Waterstones in County Square

All staff at Ashford will be offered the chance to temporarily relocate to nearby stores whilst bosses search for a new site – though no timeframe is currently in place for this.

A County Square official told KentOnline: “Waterstones plan to relocate to another part of the centre and we are in the final stages of discussions with them. We hope to announce the new store as soon as details are finalised and lease terms agreed.”

Recent closures at County Square include The Body Shop, which shut in February, and Peacocks, which left in March.

Other losses over the years have included Debenhams, River Island and H&M.

This year, County Square bosses added the shopping centre’s extension – which was completed in 2008 – to Ashford Borough Council's "call for sites".

This was an invitation to developers and landowners to submit plots for inclusion in the authority’s new Local Plan, which sets out where homes could be built in the borough up to 2041.

If accepted, 200 new homes could one day replace the extension at the shopping centre.

The upper floors are expected to be turned into housing, while the bottom floor - which includes a number of units that have never been occupied - would still be a retail space.

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