Specsavers has its eye on Alnwick

Specsavers is looking to open in the former Collectables shop in Alnwick town centre.
Specsavers is looking to open in the former Collectables shop in Alnwick town centre.

An empty Alnwick shop is in the frame to reopen as a Specsavers opticians.

The company has applied to Northumberland County Council for listed building consent for the former Collectables shop on Bondgate Within.

Specsavers is proposing to make a number of internal alterations to the grade II-listed building, while it intends to paint the shop-front white.

The company wants to have a ground-floor sales and testing area, as well as product display, dispensing, pre-testing and test-room facilities.

A design and access statement, submitted with the planning application and prepared by Platypus Limited, reads: ‘The full range of all the services Specsavers provides at this store are accessible at ground-floor level, without the need to negotiate steps or stairs, which ensures all members of the community have access to all available services.

‘The store’s location within the town means it is easily accessible to clients and staff by public transport, by foot and connections to the existing transport infrastructure.’

Alnwick Chamber of Trade chairman Carlo Biagioni said that he is pleased that the unit looks set to be occupied, but added that he would have preferred to see an independent trader move into the building ‘because Alnwick is a tourist destination and visitors like to see independent shops, which make Alnwick different to other locations’.

Collectables closed in 2013, having been part of Alnwick’s high street for 22 years.

The unit has remained empty since then, although mobile-phone giant Vodafone showed an interest in 2014 and pupils from the then Whittingham C of E First School used it as a pop-up shop in 2015.