Grimsby's Freshney Place could be taken over by council
Grimsby could become the latest town to have its central shopping centre rescued by the local council. North East Lincolnshire Council has tabled plans to buy the failed mall, which went into receivership earlier this year, for £25 million.
The mall, which features major brands including M&S, Next, JD Sports, Boots, Primark, TK Maxx, Quiz, Claire’s, Clarks and Deichmann, is currently up for sale with 1,700 jobs at risk.
The rescue bid comes as a council report warns any future owner “unwilling to invest in the centre would only accelerate its decline, undermining strategic initiatives to improve the town centre and deter inward investment”, the BusinessDesk reported the council as saying.
And the report added: “This move will safeguard a critical part of Grimsby town centre’s economic and community infrastructure”, noting that Freshney Place makes up 60% of the town centre’s retail offer, supporting one in five jobs within that area.
The council also promised that, if successful, "the centre would be run by external Asset Managers with the council taking an ‘arms-length’ approach", it said, adding: "The continued decline of Freshney Place would have a catastrophic impact on Grimsby town centre.
“Freshney Place is a significant asset within the Grimsby town centre, but the council has not been able to utilise it fully to enact the transformational change it seeks within the town centre:. But it added that the purchase would “enable it to use it as part of the wider town centre transformation more easily”.
Other councils stepping in to buy their ailing shopping centres include Burnley Council and its Charter Walk Shopping Centre and Bury Council buying the local Mill Gate shopping centre. Meanwhile, councils in Nottingham and Hull have also taken over redevelopment projects for their respect city/town centres.
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