Castle House could get ‘fresh start’

Castle House co-op, to close
Castle House co-op, to close

A ‘FRESH start’ was heralded this week for Castle House, which is currently run by the Co-operative Group.

The Co-op food store, which survived the closure of the Angel Street department store three years ago, is to be refurbished, while a deal is being finalised to sell the rest of the building.

No further details are being given at this stage but the confirmation will be seen as a boost for part of the city centre that has been hit hard by the recession.

When the Co-operative Group shut the department store, it continued to operate the food hall, a travel agency and post office. It said at the time that it could no longer compete with other big stores and wanted to “focus on core markets”.

Now the food hall is to be revamped as the Co-op prepares to lease the ground floor as part of a deal that would see the whole building pass into new hands.

A spokesperson for the Co-operative Group said: “I can confirm that we have entered in to the latter stages of negotiations for the sale of Castle House and we hope to conclude the sale within the next three months.

“As part of the regeneration of the store, we will be carrying out a complete refurbishment of the Co-operative Food store, which will herald a fresh start for Castle House.”

It opened as a Brightside and Carbrook department store opened in 1962. With its striking polished granite frontage, spiral staircases and the latest in air conditioning, it was greeted as a sophisticated, Continental-style addition to city centre shopping.

It is now protected by a grade II listing by English Heritage, the Government-backed conservation agency, although some critics have claimed this has acted as a barrier to regenerating part of the Castlegate area.