03/06/2019 - Permalink

Middle level of Shrewsbury’s Darwin Shopping Centre to be refurbished

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The middle level of Shrewsbury’s Darwin Shopping Centre is soon to be refurbished.

The work, due to start in the autumn (2019), will include new flooring, lighting and ceiling design, along with the refurbishment of the public toilet facilities.

The Darwin Centre in Shrewsbury

The Darwin Centre in Shrewsbury

It follows improvements to the upper and lower levels under the previous owner in 2017, and is part of Shropshire Council’s long-term plans to improve and further develop the three shopping centres it bought in January 2018.

Peter Nutting, Shropshire Council’s Leader, said:

“When we bought the centres, we put aside £4 million from our capital budget to make essential improvements to the Darwin Shopping Centre, particularly the lower and middle levels. It’s part of our business plan.

“We know that making these improvements will create a better environment for shoppers and help us to continue to attract and retain an excellent mix of retail and leisure.”

Since buying the centres, the council has been working hard to increase footfall, ensuring that they significantly add to the town’s already popular offer as a destination.

The centres are performing well, and securing a number of national and independent stores has meant that vacancy rates continue to remain low.

In November 2018 local artist Megan Hawkins opened her store in the Pride Hill Centre. Six months on from opening she said:

“Shrewsbury is such a vibrant and wonderful town and being given the opportunity to open our first shop here has been fantastic. It has been brilliant having a base here in this town from which to operate the business, sell our products and meet our customers both old and new.”

As well as nurturing independents, the centre boasts many national stores.

Despite this success, the centres have recently been valued at £11 million  less than they were bought for a year ago.

Peter added:

“We knew that the tenancies, income and value would change, but we bought them as an investment to support the economic growth and future vitality of the town centre, as well as provide us with a sustainable year-on-year income stream. This hasn’t changed.

“The outlook in the short-term suggests that income will fall before it rises, but we were prepared for that and we knew it would still be making us money and helping to pay for essential public services across the county.

“Footfall is good and the town centre continues to buck the national trend. This is not only great for Shrewsbury, but also for the rest of the county as it encourages tourism and provides jobs.”

For more information about Shrewsbury’s shopping centres, go to www.shrewsbury-shopping.co.uk