Latest valuation of Shrewsbury shopping centres published
Shropshire Council has reported that the statutory March 2020 valuation of the Shrewsbury Shopping Centres is £17,500,000, compared with £40,775,000 in March 2019. The figure has been announced today (Thursday 9 July) following the publication of Shropshire Council’s accounts for the year 2019/20.
This fall in value is not unique to Shrewsbury and reflects the UK-wide challenges within the retail sector, and consequent drop in retail property values.
The likely downturn in retail value was understood at the outset and played a part in the council’s decision to purchase the centres, in order to have full control and mitigate any delays in responding to market conditions, and ensuring the planned transformation of the centres.
Steve Charmley, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for assets, economic growth and regeneration, said:
“Having sought professional advice before and after the acquisition, Shropshire Council purchased the three shopping centres – Darwin, Pride Hill and Riverside – in January 2018 with the primary purpose of supporting the economic growth and regeneration of Shrewsbury town centre. This was an investment that was much-needed and will benefit not just Shrewsbury, but the whole county.
“We were aware of the possible downturn in the fortunes of the high street – an issue compounded by COVID-19 – but it’s for exactly that reason that the purchase was made – so that we could manage and mitigate any downturn, whilst enabling fresh development in the town. We also anticipated that the value of the centres could fall in the short-term. It’s therefore short-sighted to focus on the current value of the centres.
“The development of the Shrewsbury shopping centres will facilitate the wider transformation of Shrewsbury as part of the Big Town Plan. Each phase of the development will have financial challenges, but the goal remains the same, to deliver a vibrant, sustainable, and commercially successful town centre.”
These long-term ambitions for the centres are already taking shape with visible progress with the refurbishment of the Darwin Centre middle level and customer welfare facilities, comprising new toilets and washroom facilities including family room, Changing Places facility, freshwater fountain and seating. The work will complete in the early autumn.
There is now national focus on the future of UK town centres through the Institute of Place Management and High Streets Task Force. The recent ‘Build Back Better’ report by Bill Grimsey endorses the need for strong local leadership and delivery to create thriving, fit for purpose and sustainable town centres for the future. Shrewsbury is already leading on the process through the Big Town Plan as it positively engages with the community and stakeholders across the town centre to inform the decision-making process for the future.
Keep informed and sign up to our Newsroom updates
Shropshire Council wants to keep you as up to date and informed as possible, about the coronavirus / COVID-19 crisis and all our news on services, from the council and its partners.
Please click here to sign up for Newsroom updates. Please do encourage your family and friends to sign up too.