ELLESMERE Port needs a bookshop, according to Grange and Rossmore councillor Angela Claydon (Lab).
Cllr Claydon was commenting on an application to Chester West and Chester Council for alterations at the former Borders store on The Coliseum.
The Equitable Life Assurance Company has told planning officers it is seeking approval to install a 1,200 sq m mezzanine at the unit, previously occupied by Borders and Starbucks.
The store would also be subdivided although this does not need planning permission.
Borders was originally an anchor store and is the largest unit on the retail park, according to a report.
It has been empty since Borders closed in 2009.
Equitable Life has confirmed that following ‘discrete marketing’ while Borders was still open and further marketing since, no retailers are interested in taking the entire unit or in taking part of the unit without the addition of mezzanine floor space.
Although there are no firm commitments from prospective occupiers at present, they point out any retailer would require a permission for mezzanine floor space before signing up.
Councillors heard that retailers who might be interested include River Island, Sports Direct, Arcadia, Monsoon and T K Maxx.
Recommending the application should be approved, planning officers suggest it is likely that Borders could remain empty for some time without mezzanine floor space.
Quick reoccupation would bring replacement and potentially additional jobs in an area of high unemployment.
They do not believe the mezzanine would affect trade in the town centre and point out other stores on The Coliseum want to see the unit occupied.
“One of the things the town really needs is a book shop,” Cllr Claydon told a County Hall meeting of the strategic planning committee.
Although there was no suggestion a bookshop would move in, she moved permission. Councillors agreed the application.