Plans in place to make sure empty Cheltenham shops are filled quickly
SHOPS which could take over Cheltenham's HMV site are already being lined up – even though the future of the store remains undecided.
The troubled music store entered administration last week after a poor Christmas and continued competition from downloads.
Game is currently among the companies interested in taking on the chain.
But James Tibbles, director at Larraby Land, who owns a number of units in the town centre, is landlord of the current HMV site in High Street.
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He said plans were already in place to make sure the site does not go empty for too long but would not reveal exact details.
Martial Arts school, Karate World, which used to be situated above HMV, had already moved out to larger premises in Albion Street.
Mr Tibbles said: "The tenancy agreement for HMV has been extended for the next two to three months while they decide what happens next. We are speaking to various people about the place."
The Disney store in Beechwood Shopping Centre closed this month, but Beechwood Shopping Centre manager Owen Acland puts this down to decisions on a national level.
He said: "It is not a fair reflection on how the high street in Cheltenham is doing.
"It is not the case of the street doing badly, or the store. I knew for a fact that Disney was trading well, and I believe HMV was doing well.
"They are victims of decisions made on a much higher level, and not indicative of how the individual shops do.
"It is important to remember that this closure and the situation at HMV are not localised issues."
He added that there were plans to bring in the "right" retailer to take over the previous Disney site.
"We are speaking to a few people about it at the moment, but it is important it is not empty for too long," Mr Acland said.
"We are open to offers from the right kind of retailer. Because it is in such a prominent location, we want to make sure a good brand comes and takes over.
"For us, the sooner that happens, the better. It has to be the right tenant and we also want the right one in town to bring something to the high street in Cheltenham."
Town centre manager Martin Quantock said it was important to ensure the units were filled quickly.
He added: "We need something to come into these units as soon as possible to bridge the gaps."