NEWBURY’S Kennet Shopping centre will not be knocked down.
This week, the centre’s management team gave assurances that the building won’t be demolished, ending months of speculation about its future.
Instead, it has been confirmed that there will be an ‘exciting redevelopment’ of the centre, which currently comprises 50 stores/units and the Vue cinema.
The centre’s new owner, US firm HIG Capital, is considering a number of options that will ‘enhance the shopping experience’ and is expected to make an announcement soon.
Centre manager Mag Williams this week told the Newbury Weekly News: “I can confirm it will not be knocked down, which I know has been widely rumoured.
“The owners are considering different options which will enhance the shopping experience going forward.”
In July 2015, previous owner Alanis Capital put the shopping centre on the market for £18.5m. Six months later, it was announced that the centre had been snapped up by HIG Capital.
Several major retailers, including Debenhams and Poundland, have moved out of the centre within the last three years and a number of units are currently unoccupied.
Recent proposals for a 225-home development on the adjacent Market Street site only fuelled speculation about what might happen to the centre.
Last year, Richard Deal, of Newbury-based property specialist Deal Varney, said: “It’s always been a shopping centre in the wrong place.
“It has been flagging for some years, particularly when the recession started. The evidence is that people have moved from Kennet Shopping to Parkway.”
The Kennet Shopping management team are hoping to find a home for the centre’s murals, which are currently covered up by posters.
For more on the murals see the current edition of the Newbury Weekly News.