Retail parks ‘doing well’ in generating income for services

The Sovereign Shopping Centre and North Worle District Centre are ’performing well’ in generating in

The Sovereign Shopping Centre and North Worle District Centre are ’performing well’ in generating income. - Credit: Archant

Two commercial investments totalling almost £60million are ’performing well’ in generating income for North Somerset Council.

Like many other councils across the country, the authority made large-value commercial investments as a means of generating much-needed income to support council services.

In July 2017, councillors approved the creation of a property investment fund. The following year the council purchased the North Worle District Centre for £37.95million and then entered into an agreement with Legal and General to purchase the Sovereign Shopping Centre, in Weston town centre, for £21million.

MORE: Shopping centre sale to council confirmed.

Cllr Ash Cartman, the council’s executive member for finance and performance, said: “The amount of general funding we now receive from central Government has diminished to the point that we have no choice but to explore new ways of generating income to ensure we can continue to deliver services to the community.

“The North Worle District Centre is performing well and exceeding income expectations. In each of the last two financial years it has achieved a net surplus of over £600,000 against a forecast profit of £225,000 to £400,000.

“The Sovereign Centre also enjoyed a good first year for us last year, generating a net surplus of more than £500,000, only £15,000 below forecast. However, performance this year will undoubtedly be hit hard by the effects of the pandemic.”

MORE: Council buys retial park for £38m.

Cllr Mark Canniford, executive member for business, economy and employment, added: “Like every shopping centre across the country the Sovereign Centre has experienced a significant drop in footfall and revenue as a result of the period of lockdown. We are working with tenants and businesses to develop a new business plan for the centre that will work in the post-covid world. This will sit alongside our ongoing work to regenerate the town centre.

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“Centre manager Jon Walton is bringing forward lots of innovative ideas for making good use of the space there and we have been proud to give small local independent traders an opportunity to trade alongside the more established names in the centre.

“The temporary outside seating area in the Italian Gardens is also providing new opportunities for the centre’s food outlets.

“Please continue to shop locally and support our local traders who have been hit hard during this pandemic.”