Marlborough's Laura Ashley branch closes - how's the High Street looking?

Written by Tony Millett on .


The branch of Laura Ashley Home at 1-2 Hilliers Yard is now virtually empty and will close finally on Saturday (August 19).

The letting is being handled by the London firm of Marchmont Chartered Surveyors, who say the 2,124 square footage could be divided into two smaller retail spaces.

Rental contracts for the whole space and of a length to be agreed, are being offered at a guide price of £60,000 a year.  And the property has a current rateable value of £44,250.

This shop joins the list of High Street properties that are for sale or rent.  Bow House - by St Peter's church and currently a cafe and shop - is under offer at an annual rental of £40,000.   

The former HSBC bank premises on the north side of the High Street by the Town Hall is being offered for rent at £31,290 a year.  And for that you get the banking hall, offices, cashiers' stations, a strong room and, of course, the 'bullion lift'.

The Town Council owns the retail property at 1-2 Kingsbury Street. This used to house the charity shop raising funds for Helen and Douglas House - the local hospice for children and young adults.  

But when the Council put their property portfolio out to management by local agents and called for commercial rents, the charity could no longer afford to stay there.  The agents are now seeking someone to take on the shop at a rent of £22,000 a year.

The former Joules branch - before the retailer expanded into larger premises on the south side of the High Street - has been on the market since October.  The Grade II listed building is on four floors and a basement - totalling 1,581 square feet.  The ground floor shop has an area of 330 square feet.  It is being offered at rental of £28,000 a year.

On the south side of the High Street the former offices of Smiths Gore estate agents is still lying empty.  Last November Wiltshire Council gave planning permission to the Rick Stein organisation to turn the building into a guest house - linked to the restaurant.  But work has yet to be started on the conversion.