PROFITS from the takeover of Shrewsbury’s town centre shopping centres will “get worse before they get better”, the council leader has said.

Councillor Peter Nutting said the 2018 purchase of the Darwin, Pride Hill and Riverside centres was a “long-term investment” primarily aimed at “keeping the town vibrant”.

He was responding to a question from opposition leader Roger Evan’s, who pointed out that first-year profits of five per cent were expected to diminish to 2.3 then 1.7 per cent, and asked how stable the investment was.

They were speaking at a full session of Shropshire Council, where members approved the 2020-2025 Capital Strategy.

Shropshire Council purchased the three shopping centres for £53million in 2018. In January, authority finance chief James Walton told a backbench committee they had made £2.7million profit, approximately five percent and more than five times the amount the same money would have made in interest had it been left in banks or building societies.

Cllr Evans, who leads the Liberal Democrat group, said profits were forecast to diminish in the coming years.

He asked: “How stable is that investment?”

Conservative leader Cllr Nutting said: “The figures are likely to get worse before they get better.

“It’s a long-term investment and it’s about keeping the town vibrant.

“As a scheme, I think we are doing the right thing, but don’t think next year I’m going to hop up and  say it has made millions. I won’t.

“It’s better than nothing. We are making more money with it in that shopping centre than if we left it in the bank.”

He said plans to demolish the Riverside Centre and redevelop the site were moving forward and “we took a decision about the Pride Hill Centre”, but he couldn’t say more because it took place in a closed meeting and the details could not be made public yet.