laura Ashley, in the Montague Centre, is shutting as part of the company’s ‘ongoing store realignment programme’ and an application has already been submitted to change the use of the premises from retail to A3, cafe or restaurant.
The application mentions the Mary Portas review which sets out the need to remove unnecessary red tape surrounding the ‘restrictive’ use classes system, and the view that the high street of the future is not only about retail.
It points out that there are no immediate residential neighbours and that extractor fans would be installed to prevent odours.
The proposal has been recommended for refusal by Worthing Borough Council’s planning officer Matthew Porter on the grounds that ‘non-retail use would have an adverse impact upon the primary shopping frontage and town centre shopping area and unacceptable damage the retail integrity of the immediate locality.’
A spokesman for Laura Ashley said: “We are in consultation with all employees affected by this closure and aim to redeploy where possible.
“We look forward to welcoming new and existing customers to our store in Haywards Heath, which showcases our full range of fashion, decorating, furniture and accessories.”
The application will be discussed next month.