Negotiations held over plans to get Riverside Shopping Centre owners to sell up - The Evesham Observer

Negotiations held over plans to get Riverside Shopping Centre owners to sell up

Evesham Editorial 3rd Mar, 2017   0

COUNCIL chiefs have revealed negotiations have been held with the owners of the Riverside Shopping Centre over plans to get them to sell the building.

In a statement on Tuesday (February 28) Wychavon District Council launched a stunning attack on Aviva Investors where they revealed they were ‘disappointed’ by the progress the company had made in trying to find potential buyers.

The council hasn’t given any reasons why they are trying to get Aviva to sell the centre but said more pressure would be applied on Aviva to speed up the process.

Aviva purchased the Riverside from Axa in 2015 and vowed to turn around the centre’s ailing fortunes when they spoke to the Observer last year.

However many units still remain empty and a number of shops have left the building for other premises in the town.

A Wychavon District Council spokesperson said: “Our strategy in Evesham has been to bring in new town centre investment, for example Waitrose, and we are seeing new bars and restaurants opening.

“Negotiations with potential purchasers have been ongoing and we are very disappointed that the current shopping centre owners haven’t made better progress so far.

“We will continue to put pressure on them to accelerate this,” they added.

The statement was released by Wychavon in response to a continuing campaign to get the Public Hall re-opened – with council chiefs saying the future of both the shopping centre and Public Hall were ‘intrinsically linked.’

The historic venue was mothballed by the council in 2009 as part of Wychavon’s cost saving drive at the height of the credit crunch, leaving the building empty and unused ever since.

“We have never claimed the Public Hall is derelict,” the statement said.

“It does need major investment. This includes heating, better disabled access and general disrepair – which would be very costly.

“The use of the hall was incredibly low which is why on balance we had to make the tough decision to close it in 2009.

“We have no intention of doing anything that would reduce the Public Hall’s potential to open again for public use,” they added.

In response to Wychavon’s attack, a spokesman for Aviva Investors said: “Revitalising the Riverside Shopping Centre and Public Hall is a challenging project, particularly with the amount of competition we see from out-of-town centres.

“However, we are working on a number of schemes at the moment and for these to be successful we would hope to have the support of the local authority.”

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