Popular newsagent to close next month

Westwood's newsagents.
Westwood's newsagents.

A popular St Andrews store – described as the last traditional newsagent in the town centre – is to close next month.

Westwood’s, at the west end of South Street, will close on April 7, with owner Colin Munn blaming a drop in footfall.

He cited a number of reasons for fewer people shopping there, including a change in the cigarette market and younger people not purchasing newspapers.

He added: “In my time in shop saw the centre of the town change to a student town, and I’m not a shop that loads of students use. Also, there’s the prospect of the school moving in the next long term lease.

“And in my time, Tesco has opened earlier and a Sainsburys has opened up. This does not help the town shops.”

Colin took over the running of the shop in 2005 from his sister, and has been the longest-running owner since Neil Westwood, who had it for around 50 years.

It is believed the shop is to be turned into a florist.

Mr Munn, thanking the locals for their support, also praised the school children, saying: “And a big thanks for the many charity cans the customers filled, especially the Madras kids who are a credit to the school.”

Cllr Brian Thomson said: “It’s sad that the much-loved Westwood’s, the last traditional newsagent in the town centre, will soon be closing.

“The shop – with its billboards often displaying local St Andrews headlines – is something of an institution, with many locals and visitors regularly popping into the shop to buy papers and magazines, and have a chat with Colin.

“However, it’s obviously very difficult for newsagents to compete with supermarkets and the like, and the changing way in which people purchase and view news media will also be having a big impact on newsagents such as Westwood’s.

“Whilst there’s generally not a problem of vacant shop units in St Andrews – I understand the premises will be taken on by a new tenant – it’s never good to lose a long-standing traditional independent retailer, particularly one that’s contributed so much to the character of the town.”