Huntingdon’s former New Look could become a restaurant

The New Look store in Huntingdon

The New Look store in Huntingdon - Credit: Archant

The former New Look shop in Huntingdon town centre could be turned into a restaurant in a bid to make the former fashion outlet more marketable.

Huntingdonshire District Council has given the go-ahead to a proposed change of use for the building in High Street which closed its doors less than a month ago.

The change was described as being “in principle only” at this stage to widen the appeal for the building for potential tenants, with agents for the landlords saying high streets needed to diversify because they were under pressure from internet shopping.

New Look closed suddenly a short while after signs saying they were moving out appeared in the window, together with a “to let” sign on the wall.

The application to change the use of the building was made on May 3 - while New Look was still in business and before the signs on the clothing outlet appeared - but after the retailer announced a list of branch closures.

The Huntingdon branch was not on the original list of closures but has now shut.

Documents submitted with the planning application, which was approved by the council on July 13, shortly after the store closed, said that should New Look leave, the premises would be fully refurbished by the applicant with a view to making the property as attractive as possible to new tenants.

Most Read

It said: “When the current retail tenant vacates the property the landlord would like to have the benefit of A3 restaurant use when seeking a new tenant as this would considerably broaden the marketing of the premises, giving the landlord the option to secure either a new retail tenant or a restaurant operator.

“The property provides a very good location for a restaurant in the town centre with the benefit of a rear service yard area and being close to public car parking and well served with public transport.”

The application said it was becoming accepted that the old ratio of restaurants to retail outlets was now out of date and no longer applicable if town centres were to remain commercially viable and vibrant, hence the rise in coffee shops and restaurants which attracted visitors.

It added: “In recent years high street trading is recognised as being under some threat from the trend towards internet shopping, which increases in volume every year.

“Subsequently town centres are having to diversify their offer to enable them to continue to attract people to them to shop.”