A FORMER bookshop which has been an “eyesore for too long” in High Wycombe town centre looks set to be revamped as part of ambitious plans by Wycombe District Council.

The long-vacant former Ottakar’s store at 26-28 White Hart Street was previously owned by an offshore absentee landlord and the building had fallen into disrepair.

The former shop was snapped up by Wycombe District Council following “protracted negotiations” with the owner.

The council says its arguably their most ambitious project yet as part of their plans to buy up vacant shops, refurbish them and re-let them to businesses in a bid to “add vitality” to the town.

A planning application is set to be submitted soon - with the council hoping to turn the ground floor into two separate units which could become cafes, bars or restaurants with covered outdoor seating.

The first floor could become an office/studio with its own entrance on Bull Lane.

Work has already started on the town centre building - with contractors removing the large unstable plate glass windows in the shop front ahead of its refurbishment.

Plans are also being drawn up for a “striking” reclad of the building.

Cllr Steve Broadbent, cabinet member for economic development and regeneration, said: “This store is central to our vision to regenerate the heart of the town.

“It’s a key building in a central location, overlooking Queens Square which offers a natural flow between the town centre and Eden.

“For too long the building has been an eyesore. Now we are moving ahead to transform it.”

It comes after a number of successful revamp projects by the council in a bid to revitalise the town centre.

The ex-Millets store in Church Street became the Mad Squirrel craft brewery shop and bar, and the ex-Greggs store in the High Street is now The Works ice cream factory and restaurant.

Cllr Broadbent added: “Our vision is to make it an exciting, iconic addition to the townscape and to breathe new life into Queens Square which is ideally located for all kinds of pop-up and experience events.

“This in turn will help attract new businesses that provide an extra dimension to the visitor experience of the town.”

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