Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Front Page - by Vicky Cas­tle vcas­tle@thek­m­ @vick­y­castleKM

Ash­ford’s long­est-es­tab­lished high street shop is to close its doors for the last time.

Men’s cloth­ing re­tailer Bur­ton has an­nounced it will not be re­new­ing its lease and will leave the town af­ter 84 years.

The com­pany is part of the Ar­ca­dia Group, which also owns Dorothy Perkins, Top Shop and Miss Sel­fridge.

An Ar­ca­dia spokesman con­firmed the store would close on Thurs­day, June 16, and said the com­pany would try to move staff to other out­lets.

He said: “We are con­stantly re­view­ing our store port­fo­lio across the group, and leases con­tin­u­ally ex­pire or come up for re­newal.

“We are al­ways look­ing at how to shape our store port­fo­lio, in­vest­ing in flag­ship stores and in­creas­ing our brands’ pres­ence on­line.

“Our click and col­lect ser­vice across the brands is also prov­ing a suc­cess­ful way of help­ing our cus­tomers col­lect their pur­chases at a lo­ca­tion most con­ve­nient to them.

“When leases ex­pire that we do not re­new, we en­deav­our to re­de­ploy staff af­fected to an­other store within the Ar­ca­dia Group as much as we can.”

Bur­ton first opened in Ash­ford in 1932, known then as Mon­tague Bur­ton, in the pur­pose-built town cen­tre unit.

Lo­cal his­to­rian Steve Sal­ter said: “At the time, it was deemed one of the most ar­chi­tec­turally fu­tur­is­tic and mod­ern build­ings in the town.

“Its up­per el­e­va­tion was glazed with a geo­met­ric pat­tern over the win­dows. This typ­i­cal styling of the 1920s didn’t reach Ash­ford un­til 10 years later.

“Bur­ton’s has rid­den out many a re­ces­sional storm which has seen tai­lor­ing names like Hep­worths and John Col­lier bite the dust.

“For many years the Pru­den- tial As­sur­ance Com­pany oc­cu­pied the up­per floor, un­til the early 1980s.

“Mon­tague Bur­ton’s Ash­ford premises had pre­vi­ously been oc­cu­pied by Ash­ford draper Hugh Be­van and was ex­ten­sively re­mod­elled to be­come Mon­tague Bur­ton.

“In re­cent times, the once smart build­ing has be­come un­sightly and poorly main­tained.”

Ash­ford bor­ough coun­cil­lor Graham Galpin, port­fo­lio holder for the town cen­tre, said: “It is a shame but we know the com­plex­ion of the high street is chang­ing.

“Those we thought were go­ing to stay there for­ever are not go­ing to.

“We will work with the peo­ple in­volved and try and help them in any way we can.

“We will also try and en­cour­age peo­ple to come to the town.”

The clo­sure will not af­fect the Can­ter­bury and Maid­stone stores.

Cus­tomers can still shop on­line at www.bur­

‘Those we thought were go­ing to stay there for­ever are not go­ing to’

Pic­tures: Reflections

The Bur­ton shop pic­tured in 1953, left, and 1960

The shop to­day, ad­ver­tis­ing its clos­ing down sale

Pic­tures: Retro­naut

The Mon­tague Bur­ton foun­da­tion stone, laid in 1932; right, re­pro­duced pages from 1930s Bur­ton cat­a­logues

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