A major national retailer is set to open a store in the centre of Clitheroe later this month heralding the continued regeneration of the town according to local business chiefs.
Fat Face has spent a six figure sum renovating what used to be The Victoria pub on Market Place, with the lifestyle clothing and accessories retailer planning to open its new store on Saturday December 13th.
A workforce of 10 people has already been appointed to work in the new shop and Laura Melling, from Fat Face’s Lytham store, has been appointed manager.
A spokesman for Fat Face said: “Clitheroe has been in our thoughts for a number of years and it was just about waiting for the right opportunity to arise. We wanted to be able to do justice to the town and make a great brand statement.
“We are very pleased to have secured a historic landmark building in a prominent position in the town. We are very proud of our shop fit and hopefully we have done justice to the architecture and breathed some new life back into a special place for all of Clitheroe to enjoy.
“Clitheroe itself is a beautiful historic market town with a fantastic and diverse range of multiple and independent retailers and we hope we will complement the other retailers in the town.”
Tony Gould, president of Clitheroe Chamber of Trade and Commerce, has welcomed the investment: “The continued regeneration of Clitheroe as a shopping destination and the latest developments in the Market Place are a credit to all involved,” he said.
“Whilst most retailers have seen a 7% increase in footfall year on year, some have seen far in excess of that and I am not surprised that a major national clothing retailer is investing hundreds of thousands of pounds in bringing an old building back into use in the town.” The Victoria pub has stood empty and boarded up since December 2011 after the pub licence was revoked by the borough council’s licensing committee. The action came after children as young as 15 were continuously being served with alcohol. Officers visited the pub on numerous occasions and found children drinking pints of lager and vodka.
Tony added that Fat Face, along with others, have identified “the exciting prospects” that Clitheroe has to offer, with plans submitted to Ribble Valley Borough Council to bring back into use two other currently empty properties in Market Place. Councillors are due to consider an application to change the use of the former Whitesides bakery so it can be used as a tea room and wine bar with informal dining.
Plans have also been submitted to bring the former Athertons estate agency back into use as a micro pub, which will only serve real ales, soft drinks, spirits, teas and coffees.
And with preparations for Clitheroe’s first Christmas festival on Saturday gearing up, local business leaders are confident such events are proving a real asset to the town and local economy.
Mr Gould added: “We have all the elements for tremendous growth, due in part to the Chamber-driven festivals, a town website, a town loyalty card and a very pro-active business community. As a Chamber we have seen a surge in membership and an unprecedented willingness by all our members to get involved in developing the town and becoming part of a one true voice for business.
“Although we are all excited about the future and the festivities to come, we are also mindful of those less fortunate, local groups in need of funding and our young men and women returning from conflict.
“That is why on the 6th of December, which is Small Business Saturday, Clitheroe Chamber of Trade and Commerce will launch the Clitheroe Christmas Festival. This is a charity fund-raising event which will once again showcase Clitheroe as a shopping destination, including a Santa’s grotto and entertainment on almost every corner for a day not to be missed. All proceeds will benefit those charities and groups taking part.”
Tony added that Clitheroe Chamber of Trade and Commerce wished to thank Ultraframe, Ribble Valley Borough Council and Clitheroe Town Council for their continued support.
“I would like to wish the three new businesses in Market Place all the success in the future and to all our members and customers a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.”