Vibrant antiques business not set to close, say owners

The owners of a popular antiques shop in Clare have dismissed rumours the building is to be turned into housing.

Chris and Carmel Marchant, who run Clare Antiques and Interiors in Maltings Lane, have applied for a change of use – from retail to residential.

The couple had a similar application approved in 2009 but, with the date by which to start work on the project coming to an end, want to extend the time limit by a further three years.

However, the proposals have prompted unwarranted rumours that the building could be turned into flats, which Mr Marchant denied.

“As long as the bulk of the business is financially viable, we will keep going,” he said.

“We have had customers coming in saying they will be sorry to see us go, but we aren’t going anywhere and the business is doing very well.”

Mr Marchant said the shop, which houses 110 dealers, was visited by around 100,000 people each year. If the application is approved, an area of only 1,100 square feet would be renovated, he said.

“We haven’t decided on anything yet – it is just an option and I am fed up with the rumours,” said Mr Marchant.

The couple said they thought the antiques centre brought “vibrancy” to Clare and was the town’s biggest business.

Their application will be discussed by the town council before a decision is reached by St Edmundsbury Borough Council at a later date.