Council steps in to buy Kings Chase Shopping Centre for £10m

Toby Savage & Chris Skidmore

South Gloucestershire Council has bought Kings Chase Shopping Centre and car park for £10m in a major step towards its regeneration vision for the town centre.

The centre is anchored by Sainsbury’s and Wilko, and has other high street names including Boots, Holland & Barrett, Halifax, WHSmith and Costa, as well independent stores.

The council has bought the complex from Draco Kings Chase Ltd and says options for redevelopment include the potential for leisure, housing and community services to complement shops as it explores “innovative” new ways to bring vitality to the high street.

In a statement the council said: “Recently the private sector has been unable to deliver much-needed investment and a planned development did not come forward. The council have secured funding from the Government and commitment to an additional capital investment budget to acquire the site and begin a first phase of improvement and redevelopment works.”

The council secured more than £12m last December from the Government’s Future High Streets Fund to transform the town centre.

This week council leader Toby Savage said: “I am really excited to be able to confirm that we have completed the purchase of Kings Chase Shopping Centre and car park, which has been the subject of many months of hard work alongside the development of a masterplan.

“We are extremely ambitious for the future of Kingswood and this acquisition is critical to our ability to deliver something truly transformational. Alongside the funding now in place to transform the public realm on Regent Street and with the building work to restore the Whitfield Tabernacle now under way, I look forward to the opportunities this will bring to the community.

“The support from local people and stakeholder groups in Kingswood through the public engagement we have conducted was critical in our success in accessing Government funding. This collaborative approach has allowed the public sector to intervene where the market is struggling.”

A public consultation on the masterplan will be carried out over the summer.

Kingswood MP Chris Skidmore said: “I have been a proud advocate for the council’s Future High Streets Fund business case and was delighted to see the Government co-investing in this.

“Seeing the Whitfield Tabernacle alive with building work and now this vital acquisition being concluded presents the start of an exciting future for Kingswood town centre.”

The proposed improvement and redevelopment of Kings Chase Shopping Centre announced by new owner South Gloucestershire Council comes four years after ambitious plans were announced but subsequently failed to come to fruition.

In 2017 Steamrock Capital, which then managed the centre, held a public consultation overt plans to demolish the dated multi-storey car park and build an extension with a replacement car park to hold more than 300 cars.

The comprehensive redevelopment scheme included more retail space, along with restaurant and café units and the possibility of installing a gym on the site. The plans were approved by the council later that year.

But in the summer of 2018 the centre was put on the market and in October of that year we reported that the redevelopment had been put on hold and instead the car park was going to be refurbished.

Repair work was carried out on the top tier of the car park, bringing it back into use and restoring around 100 parking spaces. The car park was also repainted.

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