Work begins on Woolies

WORK began this week to renovate Royston’s old Woolworths store after a major retailer signed a lease to take over the shop.

As revealed exclusively in The Crow, clothing giant QS has been in discussions with the landlord of the premises for some months about the possibility of taking over the lease for the shop, which is the largest in Royston High Street.

It has stood empty since January 2009, when Woolworths closed down after the chain went into administration.

The firm was unavailable for comment at the time of going to press, but Royston’s town centre manager Geraint Burnell said: “I understand from a very reliable source that the lease was signed last Friday.

“We are obviously delighted that such a renowned retailer is coming to Royston and that the High Street continues to grow.”

QS literally gave shoppers a sign of its intentions when it submitted a plan for advertisement consent for two signs, including one with strip lighting, to North Herts district council.

And this week workmen began renovating the building, with scaffolding erected on the outside of the shop.

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Property agent Kitchen La Frenais has spent a year trying to find tenants for the shop, and it is thought QS beat offers from several other serious bidders to land the lease.

It could open one of its Store 21 outlets, which specialise in clothes and household items.

Several companies had been linked with a move to take over the empty premises, with Tesco, Primark, and Wilkinsons all reported to have shown some interest.

Tesco appeared to rule itself out last year when the chain’s chairman Sir Terrence Leahy wrote in a letter to campaigner Terry Hutt that it had assessed the site but decided it was “not appropriate” for its needs.