Burnley Council wants 'strong future' for town centre after buying Charter Walk
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The council had a £20.7m. bid accepted for the open-air retail space, significantly lower than the £25.6m. asking price.
Council leader Coun. Afrasiab Anwar said: “Burnley Council launched its Town Centre and Canalside Masterplan in 2018 and improving the retail and leisure offer in the town was a key priority within that strategy.
“Our town centre plays an important role to residents, businesses and visitors. We have a catchment area of approximately a quarter of a million people and it is our intention to ensure that our town centre continues to be successful and vibrant.
“Investment in shopping centres has changed considerably in recent years and the council knew that in order to secure a strong future for our town centre, it needed to take ownership of Charter Walk.
"This will be funded from the rental incomes from businesses in the centre. I should stress that this is not being funded from residents’ council tax.
“You don’t have to look far afield to see other towns where shopping centres have fallen into decline and we are adamant that this will not be the case in Burnley.
"Gaining ownership of Charter Walk demonstrates our commitment and confidence in our town centre and we will reinvest any surplus rents into its further development.”
The current agents for managing the shopping centre will be retained to enable a smooth transfer of ownership and continuity for tenants.
The acquisition follows the refurbishment of the St James’s Street pedestrianised shopping area, the creation of a Burnley Business Improvement District to attract more shoppers to the town, a successful bid to designate lower St James’s Street as a Heritage Action Zone, and ongoing work to create the Pioneer Place leisure complex, including a multi-screen cinema and restaurants.