Wealden District Council has spent more than £12 million buying a shopping centre.
The council has snapped up Hailsham’s Vicarage Field – which has Waitrose among its tenants – for £12.35 million.
“This is an exciting step for Wealden District Council,” said Councillor Bob Standley, Leader and Cabinet member responsible for Strategic Finance.
“We are looking to re-invigorate this important town centre site, so it can play a stronger role in improving the economy of the District.
“Vicarage Fields has great potential to provide exciting regeneration opportunities in this expanding town.
“We will be consulting with retailers the town council and other stakeholders about the best way to maximise the potential of this site for the town and the District.”
“Vibrant town centres, served by free off-street parking, are vital if we are to successfully compete with our larger urban neighbours.”
A council spokesperson added, “Many years of careful financial management has put the District Council in a strong position to take advantage of low interest rates to purchase the site. Rental income will provide an additional revenue stream for the Council, helping to offset the effects of reductions in government funding.”
The Vicarage Field Shopping Centre was built in the 1960s, although the current anchor premises which houses Waitrose was rebuilt in the 1990s.
The two storey development consists of 17 retail units with offices and residential flat upstairs. This prime site, including walkways and pedestrian areas, covers 8,500m2.
The spokesperson added, “After taking professional advice, the shopping centre has been purchased, following a rigorous due diligence process, from an overseas private finance company.”