Tailor Made Travel has abandoned plans to open up to ten agencies in South Wales in former Thomas Cook premises, blaming the high costs being imposed.

Chief executive Simon Morgan yesterday withdrew offers to assign the leases on the ex-Thomas Cook stores after discovering that liquidators’ estate agents are charging £35,000 per store to assign change of tenant leases.

Morgan said: “Only an idiot would take on the liabilities and repair obligations of these properties and pay a heavy premium for it, which in some cases are four times the annual rentals.

“The fixtures and fittings are poor in many locations and the property maintenance questionable.”

He added: “We will continue with our intentions to expand into non-competitive towns replacing Cooks stores but will create shiny new versions in the many available alternative units.

“I find it incredible that, presented with an opportunity to turn around rapid re-openings and protect employment, that these fat cats have put this barrier in place.

“It’s bad for landlords, bad for staff and will only serve to line the pockets of the liquidator.”

He has already recruited six former Thomas Cook staff to join his existing retail network of 18 stores.

Morgan had started an analysis of the potential profitability of the former Thomas Cook stores and said “successful and motivated” staff who worked there were “almost guaranteed” jobs if he brought them back to life.