Bassetlaw District Council completed the purchase of the Priory Shopping Centre in Worksop on 30th March 2023 as part of its successful Levelling Up bid to transform the town centre.
As part of a £20 million pound investment, it aims to create a new location where shopping, socialising, food and drink, leisure and entertainment come together.
David Armiger, Chief Executive of Bassetlaw District Council, said:
“There has been much speculation that New Look’s decision to close their Priory Centre store is due to high rents set by the Council or the Council not providing an option to renew the lease. This is categorically not true.
“New Look approached the Council with the ultimatum of leaving the Priory Centre unless we offered them a lease where they paid no rent. This is against a backdrop of New Look generating a gross profit of £361.5million* in 2021/22 and a review of their operating model and structure.
“As the purchase of the Priory Centre was funded through the Levelling Up Fund, the Council cannot offer zero rent leases due to Government Subsidy rules.
“We are sympathetic to the local people who will be made redundant as a result of New Look’s decision and we are working hard to retain all of the existing retailers in the Priory Centre, as well as attracting new stores. To be clear, the current rent structure has not changed.
“We are in the process of formalising plans that will create a space in the town centre that offers a mix of shopping, entertainment and leisure, similar to The Wool Market in Doncaster. We believe this model will create an exciting new attraction in Worksop and help to bring new businesses and people to the town centre, as well as create a diverse range of employment opportunities.
“This project will take several years to complete, but it is clear that there needs to be a change in the way shopping centres like the Priory Centre operate. Our aim is to have a commercially viable centre that acts as an attraction within the town centre and that will benefit all town centre businesses. We look forward to sharing more information about our proposals in the coming months.”
*Figure taken from the New Look Annual Report and Accounts 2021/22
Last Updated on Friday, May 19, 2023