A HIGH street home styling and gifts shop has closed its doors despite successful trading due to provision for a Pizza Hut takeaway.

Residents in Broadstone have described the closure of Winifreds 1929 as a “real loss” to Lower Blandford Road having made a big impression on locals despite just 11 months of trading.

Business owner Steve Reilly opened the shop on April 12 last year to “test an idea” for a new shop opening right after the national lockdown restrictions eased. Winifreds opened on a “flexible” arrangement with the site landlord for an initial six months.

The success of the shop led to Steve accepting two further three-month extensions from the landlord despite an application to turn the site into a Pizza Hut takeaway looming overhead.

Bournemouth Echo: Artwork of recently closed Broadstone shop Winifreds 1929Artwork of recently closed Broadstone shop Winifreds 1929

Broadstone resident Steve told the Echo: “The shop had been empty for some 18 months just sat there. During lockdown there was all this nervousness about retail, but it’s in the middle of the high street so I thought I’d see if the landlord was interested in doing something.”

The site previously had an application to extend the retail space and build four flats at the rear approved. Steve was hopeful the success of Winifreds would enable him to take the extra space and expand the store.

However, after several deadline push backs, the application to transform the site into a Pizza Hut takeaway was ‘called-in’ by Broadstone councillor Vikki Slade.

Steve then declined an offer to run the space on a month-to-month basis, causing the shop to close on March 26. He explained: “It would just be impossible to build the business going forward on a month-to-month basis. There seemed no point building something that we couldn’t do anything with, so the decision was taken to mothball it.”

In her reasons for ‘calling-in’ the application, Cllr Slade said: “[Winifreds] has been a boost to the high street and a popular store. There are already three takeaway units on this side of Lower Blandford Road.

Bournemouth Echo: Broadstone store Winifreds 1929 closes amid plans for a Pizza Hut takeawayBroadstone store Winifreds 1929 closes amid plans for a Pizza Hut takeaway

“There are also three others in Broadstone and an additional fast-food outlet specialising in pizza. This will make eight places to buy a takeaway pizza in Broadstone – this will distort the commercial centre of the community.”

There have been more than 50 official objections to the plans.

After the shop’s closure, Steve says he has been “humbled” by the support given from the community.

He said: “Around 50 per cent of our products were sourced locally and I think that’s what people liked to a great extent. That’s the unfortunate bit, it was a success but we just couldn’t go any further without the security of the premises for the longer term.

“If the council are going to have a strategy for the high street they should determine planning applications quicker. If they did, it may have helped our negotiations.

“I was quite humbled by the support of everybody. It certainly proves the demand for small and independent is still out there.”