WORK on the site of the now-closed Burtons Shop on Abergavenny’s High Street has been halted on the orders of Monmouthshire County Council after concerns that the Grade II* listed building was being damaged by contractors.
A statement from the Council, issued on Tuesday afternoon says, ‘Thank you to all the residents who have been in touch, concerned that the beautiful Burton store in Abergavenny was being damaged by contractors. We have instructed work on the building to stop.
The halt follows furious residents contacting the council and the Chronicle claiming the contractors had seriously degraded the art-deco exterior of the store that has stood on the spot for more than eighty years.
The building was included at a higher grade on the listed building register due to its exceptional interest and rarity as a ‘Well-preserved Burton’s store which retains almost all of its 1930s external detailing.’
Rhys Williams of Chartered Surveyors, Emmanuel Jones of Cardiff told the Chronicle, ‘The Landlord in carrying out various work on behalf of the new tenants and a six-figure sum is going to be spend on renovation to restore all original features.’
"However, an inspection reveals that many of the exterior glass signs painted in gold leaf have been cracked and in some cases scraped clear of their original lettering."
Reader, Mick Smith told the Chronicle, ‘Why are the builders being allowed to destroy the historic parts of the old shop? They are scraping off the gold leaf windows let alone what else they are doing inside. I and a lot of other people are not happy about this.’
It is understood that the landlord is a Manchester-based property developer. New tenants, Mountain Warehouse, are planning to open on the site in late November.
Abergavenny Councillor, Tudor Thomas said, ‘I’m frankly shocked and saddened by the disappearance of this facade, it has been a part of the centre of town for eighty years. I will be speaking to the planning department for some kind of explanation.’
The shop was originally was built for the Burtons tailoring company in 1937. The Art Deco design was created by Burton’s in-house architect, Nathaniel Martin.
It was built using Portland stone, polished black marble, brass and glass. A foundation stone records, ‘This stone laid by Raymond Montague Burton 1937’.
The store’s exterior was almost unchanged since its construction in 1937 and, as such, represented a rare survival of a commercial style that was once common through the United Kingdom.
Its Cadw listing describes it as, ‘A classic Burton store with all the characteristic design features which used to be displayed in every British town and have now gone almost completely.’
Monmouthshire County Council added, ‘We are so disappointed that this has happened, our Heritage Officers are dealing with the issue and will be addressing the restoration in due course.’Amy Longford, heritage manager with Monmouthshire County Council added, 'We have instructed work to stop as this was not part of the approval, we will be pressing the firm for restoration.'