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Local trader in talks to move in to former Merchant Chandler store in Ashford

By Aidan Barlow

An empty town centre shop could be set to reopen its doors with the arrival of a new trader as a tenant.

The Merchant Chandler store in North Street closed in April 2014 in the same week as the closure of the Clarks shoe shop in the High Street.

It has since remained empty, with owners Arcadia Group, which runs shops including Burton Menswear and Evans in the High Street, looking for a new tenant.

The former Merchant Chandler store in Ashford
The former Merchant Chandler store in Ashford

This week an Arcadia spokesman confirmed that they are in “advanced talks” to fill the two-storey shop.

It follows criticism from some that the company wasn’t doing enough to find a new business to occupy the site.

The shop had been touted by some in Ashford as a potential spot for the multinational Primark to move in.

Now this week the Arcadia spokesman said that they are in talks with a “local trader” to move in to the store, but remained tight-lipped about the type of business which is set to open its doors.

The news has been welcomed by Cllr Graham Galpin, who is the council cabinet member responsible for boosting business in the town centre.

He said: “I’m absolutely delighted. Confidence in Ashford as a brand is increasing all the time. We will see more empty shops being filled.

Cllr Graham Galpin says he is delighted
Cllr Graham Galpin says he is delighted

“It’s a justification for the efforts that the council has been making to improve the town centre environment. The situation is definitely improving.”

He cited an article in The Guardian last week, which appeared to show that while footfall on high streets around the country was falling, Ashford was bucking the trend.

It follows news that the former Multisave store and former Pizza Hut restaurant in the Lower High Street are also both now under offer.

Are you the business owner hoping to move in? Contact the newsroom on 01233 895808 or email abarlow@thekmgroup.co.uk.

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