St Annes department store JR Taylor sold off as mystery surrounds who the buyer is
The sale of a famous St Annes store has sparked rumours over the future use of the building after the new owner remains unknown.
Sold signs have gone up at the JR Taylor building on Garden Street after it was put up for sale in April following a four-year legal battle over the site.
It’s currently unknown who the five-floor building has been sold to and for what purpose it will be used.
The independent department store, which was founded more than 100 years ago, closed in 2015 after failing to secure a buyer.
The building was the subject of a dispute between its owners and previous tenants, preventing any new business opening in the prestigious premises.
This was resolved in April and it was listed by Duxburys Commercial with offers in excess of £1 million.
Arnold Sumner, the former coordinator for the St Annes Chamber of Trade said he has been unsuccessful in finding out who the new owner is.
He said: “I have rung in the past and normally been updated however I was told by the agents it’s commercial confidentiality and if the new owner wants everyone to know they will have to inform us.
“There is lots of speculation around the town about what the building may become. We heard Primark made an approach about it but were concerned with the rates.
“I do hope it will be a quality store to lift St Annes up as it has been closed for a long time now. It would certainly suit a department store with various outlets.
“We will just have to wait and find out soon what it will be.”
The news was met with a positive response in St Annes, were JR Taylors was once one of the town’s most prestigious shops.
Fylde MP Mark Menzies said: “I’m delighted to hear there has been movement on the site and I look forward to greeting the new owner, whoever that may be, to get the best possible result for St Annes and this flagship site.
“This is the first step in a new regeneration scheme for St Annes and I hope we can all build on this good news for the benefit of the entire town.
Bev Sykes, who founded the Just Good Friends social group, said: “It was a fantastic store over the years and it’s right in the heart of St Annes.
“I know a lot of people will really welcome this news - let’s hope we’re going to get a good shop.
“It’s been empty for too long.”
Barbara Mackenzie, the former president of the Holiday Association of Lytham St Annes (HALSA), said: “I don’t know if it’s worrying or not that we don’t know who has purchased the building.
“I know people are slightly worried what it might become due to it being a large building. Hopefully it will be something to enhance the town and not the opposite.
“JR Taylor was more popular than people realised and lots of people came into St Annes because of it. Whatever the building becomes, if it suits the town, more people could come back.
“I don’t know how it would be feasible for one company to just come in and get the building up to scratch and make money. The talk in the past has been several, different outlets in the building.”
A spokesman for Duxburys Commercial was unavailable for comment.