Thaxters of Holt set to close store

Around 120 local jobs could be created by a new supermarket in Holt as a family-owned DIY shop prepares to sell up to an unnamed national retail chain.

After 43 years on the same site, Thaxters of Holt has announced it will close its DIY shop on Old Station Way to focus on trade sales.

Paul Thaxter, a director at the firm, said he was in talks with a company interested in buying part of the land to build a supermarket.

But he could not say which firm was hoping to set up in the town as negotiations were ongoing.

Both parties are currently seeking guidance from planning officers at North Norfolk District Council over the plans.

'They would be looking at creating around 120 full- and part-time jobs on the site,' said Mr Thaxter.

'In the current economic climate that's not bad. Holt will definitely benefit from it.'

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If the deal is successful then Thaxters would continue to operate, selling materials to the building trade and retain their timber yard at the current site.

The company was founded in 1968 as a shed and wooden building manufacturer, but that part of the business was sold-off to a former employee in 2005, leaving the timber wholesale arm and retail shop owned by the family.

Due to declining numbers of customers at the store the company now plans to sell it off and focus on its timber sales business, which continues to perform well selling to the building trade.

The company employs four full time staff in their yard and one full time delivery driver and has said there are no plans for redundancies.

'With the current situation the shop side of things has been very slow. We don't sell much out of the shop at all,' said Mr Thaxter.

'The internet has killed a lot of local shops.

'We've been in Holt since 1968. Holt has been good to us. It's just time for a change.'

Mr Thaxter said that the other two directors of the firm, Brian and Trevor Thaxter, were also nearing retirement age, which was another reason behind the plans to streamline the business.

Ill health is also said to be a consideration, although both will continue to have an input on how the business is run.

Mr Thaxter added that a planning application for the site would be submitted to the North Norfolk District Council soon.

Philip High, district councillor for Holt, said that the new shop could be good for the town, although it would need to pass the usual planning process.

'It's generally felt there's a need for another supermarket in Holt, not out of town,' he said.

'One out of town would do a lot of damage, but that's just my own personal opinion. People would park, shop and go home.'