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‘Serious questions to answer’ on Shropshire Council’s shopping centres purchase

By Dominic Robertson | Shrewsbury | Politics | Published:

There are serious questions to answer over Shropshire Council’s multi-million pound investment in shopping centres, according to an opposition councillor.

The Darwin Centre

Councillor Alan Mosley has criticised Shropshire Council and its ruling administration over the decision to pay more than £51m for the Riverside, Darwin and Pride Hill centres in Shrewsbury.

A valuation released last week has shown that they are now valued at £17.5 million – £33.5 million less that the authority paid for them.

Labour Councillor Mosley said: “In 2017 we predicted that Shropshire Council’s high risk gamble in purchasing the failing shopping centres with public money could be disastrous and called for a delay and vital scrutiny.

"Unfortunately, we now know that the value of the centres in March was deemed to be 2/3 less than was paid.”

He added: “The purchase saw the council join in a lemming-like rush to invest without relevant experience or expertise and having to rely on recommendations from a single consultancy at great expense. This was at a time when private investors were looking to offload their stock, for obvious reasons.”

Shropshire Council has said it expected the value of the centres to fall and the figure does not alter the primary reason behind the decision to buy them – to give it control of the major redevelopment of the town centre.

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