Pendle Rise shopping centre owner ‘very disappointed’ at council’s compulsory purchase idea
A property company which owns Pendle Rise shopping centre in Nelson says it is disappointed by the council’s move towards using a compulsory purchase order to buy the site for regeneration.
Future Properties 1st Ltd says it has not received any offer from Pendle Borough Council to buy the centre. Yet the council is now looking at using a compulsory purchase order, which is a legal process that could take years and cost millions, the company said.
The town centre site includes the Pendle Rise shopping centre, an office block called Phoenix Chambers on the eastern side and the Admirals Place indoor market hall, which was closed by Pendle Council last year.
A spokesman for Future Properties 1st Ltd told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “We are commercial property investment company. We gave Pendle Council a recent valuation of Pendle Rise shopping centre which was done by an independent Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors valuer. Pendle Council has had the chance to put in an offer. But we have not received anything to date, for reasons unknown to us.
“The impression given by some councillors’ comments and media reports is that the council has been trying to negotiate with us. But we have not received an offer.
“Now there are discussions about using a compulsory purchase order. We are very disappointed to hear this. That is a process which could last two years and cost millions of pounds, which would be a waste of tax payers’ money.”
The spokesman added: “The council’s suggestion that the centre was 36% vacant is misleading to local people, we believe. When we bought the centre five years ago, it was in administration and was around 30%. However, we have put another eight retailers in and have brought the vacant rate down to 15%.
“We have also brought McDonald’s to Nelson, on the site of the former Pendle Rise multi-storey car park on Broadway. This will help to kick-start the regeneration of the area and the new drive-through restaurant will hopefully be open by the end of this year.”
The spokesman said a new Mediterranean-Turkish cafe is set to move into the unit recently located by Costa Coffee. He said Costa had a 10-year lease but had a break clause option at five years, which it had chosen. Also recently, a Pendle Rise corner unit facing Manchester Road has been let to a new tenant.
Future Properties also has planning permission for potential apartments at the Phoenix Chambers offices at one end of the site.
The shopping centre site has various parts and includes the Admirals Place indoor market hall. Stallholders there had to move out when Pendle Council closed the indoor market in spring 2021.
Regarding that location, the Future Properties spokesman said: “Pendle Council is the tenant there and has a 44-year lease remaining to run. The indoor market hall was closed over 12 months ago in a decision by the council. Our solicitors are in litigation with the council to get the market hall reopened.”
He added: “Overall, we are not convinced Pendle Council really wants to acquire Pendle Rise for its redevelopment of Nelson town centre. It sometimes feels like the council is determined to waste taxpayers’ money with a compulsory purchase order and local people are being mislead by some comments regarding the indoor market’s closure, which our lawyers are dealing with.”
Meanwhile in another development, the spokesman said: “We have had an offer for Pendle Rise from a Blackburn property investment company which is close to our asking price. The Blackburn company has bought 13 other shopping centres this year alone. So we are seriously considering the offer and will be confirming within the next seven days, if accepted.”
A spokesperson for Pendle Borough Council said: “Pendle Rise is our key regeneration project for Nelson town centre.
“Public consultation on the Masterplan and the Nelson Town Deal shows strong support from local people for the existing centre to be replaced with a more modern shopping centre.
“We only use compulsory purchase as a last resort.
“Pendle Borough Council is still prepared to buy the centre by negotiation, if a price can be agreed. But we can’t comment further on commercial negotiations.”