BUSINESSES in Malvern looking for a new home could take on space at the former Brays department store.

The new owner of the Brays building says he wants to attract local businesses as new tenants.

Nick Carroll Architects, based in Worcester, is leading the design for the refurbishment of Brays as well as dealing with publicity for the new owner, who wishes to remain anonymous for now.

Mr Carroll said: “Accommodating the local economy in this building not only presents a more viable proposition than a single large national chain but also helps steer plans for the future of this iconic building.

“A company based in Worcester have laser surveyed and computer modelled the existing building to give an understanding of its existing layout, which, together with early discussions with local businesses will, in time, reveal the future for Brays and the local economy.”

Mr Carroll is working on plans with the new owner to split the old department store on the ground floor into three or four shops, including one or two eateries, making use of the outside terrace space.

All the existing other shops along the parade will be maintained as well as the flats above.

The Brays sign will be kept over the doorway.

Mayor of Malvern, Councillor Neil Morton, said: “Brays is an iconic building and I’m pleased to see the building move forward into the next chapter of its history.

“From my point of view, it’s nice it is intended to be kept as a commercial premises, instead of being knocked down to make way for a housing development.

“At the end of the day. it’s important the high street gets continued investment and I would welcome a cafe or restaurant.”

Simon Smith, economic development manager at Malvern Hills District Council, said: “We are pleased to hear the new owner is considering redevelopment of the Brays retail space for new commercial uses and we would look forward to positive discussions with them.

John Harcup, president of the Malvern Civic Society, added: The plan to keep the facade is a good thing as the building is so iconic. I welcome planned cafes and restaurants."

Brays was one of Malvern’s oldest shops, opening in 1895, but closed in January when its owner and managing director both retired.

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