Shropshire Council has today completed the purchase of Shrewsbury’s three main shopping centres from UK Commercial Property Trust Limited, which is advised by Standard Life Investments.

The purchase was approved at a meeting of the full Council on December 14 and contracts were exchanged on December 21.

The purchase price is c.£51 million.

Under the deal, Shropshire Council has purchased the freehold of the Charles Darwin Shopping Centre, including 11 Castle Street, the freehold of the Pride Hill Shopping Centre, the vendor’s leasehold interest in the Riverside Shopping Centre and the vendor’s leasehold interest in the Riverside Medical Centre.

The primary objective for the purchase of the shopping centres is to support the economic growth and regeneration of the town centre.

It will support the development of Shrewsbury as a ‘destination’, help provide an improved and attractive retail and leisure offer, and secure employment for Shropshire residents both directly and indirectly.

Councillor Peter Nutting, leader of Shropshire Council, said: “The investment in the shopping centres is very exciting and hugely important. It will provide us with the opportunity to shape the redevelopment of a large part of the town centre. In particular, the redevelopment of the Riverside Centre is desperately needed as the area is looking tired and rundown. It offers huge opportunities for development.

“Over the coming months we want to carefully think through our next steps in terms of the wider development opportunities and how these align with the vision for the town as articulated within the Shrewsbury Big Town Plan. We’ll also be seeking people’s views before any decisions are made.

“The investment in the shopping centres will also enable us to get a better financial return on our money, providing the council with £2.7 million income in next year’s budget.”

Councillor Steve Charmley, Shropshire Council’s deputy leader and Cabinet member for corporate support, said: “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to enhance and improve the town centre and change Shrewsbury for the better.

“While this is an investment in Shrewsbury’s shopping centres it’s an investment that will benefit the whole of Shropshire, so this really is great news for the whole county.”

A specialist property management company will be responsible for all aspects of over 113 tenant lets, the properties themselves and the marketing of the shopping centres – as has always been the case – as well as considering the future development of the sites.

Will Fulton, fund manager at Standard Life Investments, said: "We have been discussing long term options for these centres with Shropshire Council for a while which ultimately led to negotiations around the council acquiring them and managing them going forward. We believe that this is a very satisfactory outcome for both parties and for the future of the centres.”