Positive signs for Accrington town centre are indicated by the arrival of a major fashion retailer at a vacant unit, it’s been claimed.
Select Fashion, which sells women’s clothing, shoes and accessories, will take over the former Store Twenty One unit at the Arndale Centre.
It comes after pub bosses unveiled plans to turn the ‘landmark’ former Yorkshire Bank, on Blackburn Road, into a bar and grill.
Select Fashion has 190 stores nationwide including branches in Blackburn, Nelson, Burnley and Bolton and is aimed at women aged 18 to 35.
Up to eight jobs will be created and bosses say they have already been inundated with enquiries about the vacancies.
Anna Slark, store manager of Select Fashion in Blackburn, said they are ‘excited’ about opening their first ever store in Accrington and ‘want to bring something new to the town’.
She said: “We are looking at hopefully in about three or four weeks time. It’s only just been finalised that we are going into the unit.
“They need to fit the store and everything and get recruited. Our inbox hasn’t stopped. I’ve still got loads of messages to reply to.
"It’s mainly enquiring about the jobs we have. There has been a lot of jobs.
“The company is very excited to open a new store where they haven’t had one before.”
Store Twenty One closed in July this year after going into liquidation.
The value clothing retailer had been in the town centre for several years and the unit was previously occupied by The Best of Oswaldtwistle Mills and Woolworths.
Shahed Mahmood, president of Hyndburn Chamber of Trade, said the arrival of Select Fashion shows the positive progress the town centre is making.
He said: “It’s good timing. The signs are there that businesses are slowly relocating and Accrington now seems to be a good choice for investment.
“We are trying to encourage people into the town with the incentives that are available like revaluation of business rates, the new town square. These attractions are making investors sit up and listen and think ‘lets have a go’.
“With Christmas coming around the corner it’s a good time to get yourself on the map. We welcome it and I just hope that everybody uses the store.
“It is something different but it’s giving customers the choice and attracting them to Accrington which is what we want.”
For job enquiries message ‘Select Fashion - Blackburn Morrisons’ on Facebook.
Iconic former Yorkshire Bank to become bar and grill
A ‘landmark’ former bank building is set to be turned into a bar and grill.
Yorkshire Bank closed its branch in Accrington town centre last year, and plans have now come forward to transform it into a H20 bar.
The bar previously operated further along Blackburn Road but was forced to close due to an unusual legal glitch.
Owner Mark Eggar said they have now stripped out the ‘beautiful’ former bank in anticipation of the works beginning soon.
The 41-year-old from Oswaldtwistle has ‘guaranteed’ that the bar will be open in time for Christmas and will create up to eight full-time jobs.
He told the Observer: “The one across the road was doing alright but there was a restricted covenant on it which the solicitors missed saying there couldn’t be any alcohol or gambling.
“The bank has been stripped out and the planning and licensing applications are due to go in this week. It will be open before Christmas, I guarantee it.
“It’s a beautiful building and it will make a great pub. It’s one of Accrington’s landmarks, the most eye-catching and one that you see all the time when you are here. You can’t miss it.
“There are enormous arch windows. It’s like a cathedral.”
Mark said the premises will be open seven days a week and they have applied for a licence to operate from 10am to 4am.
He said: “It will also have food during the day, probably carvery, because I know there isn’t a great deal of money about and we need to cater for everyone.
"We want the daytime drinkers and people who want to watch the football and have a bit of food.
“The town is busy. Everybody says it’s all doom and gloom but if you look down Broadway it is packed out with people.”
Mark said it was also the ‘perfect opportunity’ to invest in the building with work now under way on the nearby town centre public square.
He said: “They are spending £2 million in front of the town hall and Blackburn Road and it’s crying out for something to be done.
“It thought it’s a perfect opportunity to do it. Let’s give it a whirl.
“What’s the worst that can happen? Let’s do something good for the town.”