Shrewsbury plans 'being well received' but council tight-lipped on reduced shopping centre rents
Ambitions for the future of Shrewsbury town centre are being “very well received” – but council bosses have refused to say how many retailers in the shopping centres are paying below market rate rent.
Shropshire Council added that it was confident of making “important announcements” over deals this year.
Councillor David Vasmer has asked the full council to discuss how many retailers in the town’s shopping centres are being given incentivised deals to trade there.
It comes after it was revealed that the valuation of the town’s three shopping centres came in £11 million below the amount Shropshire Council paid for them last year.
Councillor Vasmer said: “How many retailers in the Shrewsbury shopping centres are paying below market rents or have had rent reductions in the last 18 months?”
Councillor Steve Charmley, deputy leader, said he could not reveal the information publicly because of market sensitivity, but added he was confident of future plans.
He said: “Due to the commercially sensitive nature of the information being requested, the council is unable to comment or provide specific figures.
“I’m sure Councillor Vasmer is aware that retailing globally is going through a structural change and that is why we were keen to secure ownership of the retail centres to ensure we could keep Shrewsbury’s retailing offer as strong and as competitive as it could be.
“Needless to say upon lease renewals we balance our commercial imperatives with our vision for an active, vibrant retail centre that we can all be proud of.
“What I can say is that our Big Town Plan and ambitions for Shrewsbury are being very well received by the market and I’m hopeful of making some important announcements about positive commercial deals later this year.”
Earlier this year, Councillor Peter Nutting said cinema screens, restaurants and a gym could see one of Shrewsbury’s shopping centres transformed into a new leisure zone for the town.
He said one idea was to keep the Darwin Centre as a main retail unit, while the Pride Hill centre could be turned into a centre where people could spend a whole night out, boosting the town’s economy.