THE announcement of the closure of Burleys, coming as it does just weeks after the town learned that department store Brays was to shut its doors for good, means the town is losing another of its long-standing businesses.

Both have been around longer than any person now living can remember, and soon they will be gone, changing the face of the town centre for ever.

There is no doubt that town centres are changing for a number of reasons, not least the advance of internet shopping.

And the disappearance of long-established names such as these may be an inevitable part of the process, but it's one that is hard to welcome.

The best that can be hoped is that both premises are usefully occupied as soon as possible after they are vacated by the current businesses, in order to avoid the blight of such prominent and historic buildings standing empty and forlorn.

That would send entirely the wrong message to the thousands of people who flock to Malvern every year as visitors.

Malvern is not a town in decay, and it must work very hard to prevent any false impression that it is being promulgated.

It is a growing town, and a successful hub of high-tech industries, while also retaining its charm as a Victorian spa town, and its event earlier incarnation as a monastic centre.

So it is to be hoped that whoever end up occupying the Brays and Burleys premises are not stymied by too much in the way of bureaucratic red tape, as long as they respect the historic character of these buildings.