SHOPPERS and traders have welcomed the acquisition of a deserted town centre shopping development by a property group.
Wrexham Council confirmed Manchester-based estates group MCR Property has acquired the large complex on Henblas Square, which was put up for sale in March.
After a spokesman for MCR announced the company would look to provide a “mixed-use offering to the area in keeping with the overall Town Centre Masterplan” the Leader spoke with shoppers to get their views.
Stella Healey, of Cefn y Bedd, said she felt the sale was definitely good news for Wrexham and suggested shops such as TJ Hughes and B&M might be good additions to Henblas Square.
She added: “Anything is better than nothing – it’s just dead. When they moved everything to Eagles Meadow, that was the worst thing they ever did.
“It has killed it in the centre, all these closed shops and for older people like myself it has been hopeless – it has just ruined it.
“You have either got to go to Eagles Meadow, Island Green or all over the place.
“It was better when we had Marks and Spencer, Boots and all these here.”
Geoffrey Matthias from Brymbo said: “Shops like BHS and TJ Hughes – there is nothing like them here. It is about time, it is terrible down there.
“When they had the big market here it used to be packed. It is going downhill fast.
“Eagles Meadow is out of the way for older people – it was ideal when it was here.”
Janette Partington, of Esme’s baby, infant and children’s wear, said: “There should be residential above and shops below to bring people into this part of the town.”
Simon Land, of Bank Street-based coffee shop and eatery Milano, told the Leader he thought the development should be “retail at the bottom, flats at the top – definitely.”
He added: “I used to have a shop in Henblas Street in 2008 – the TJ Hughes was still open, we had good footfall, it was ticking along nicely down there. For us the death of it was TJ Hughes closing.”
Bank Street-based butcher Jeremy Williams said: “Trade has dropped dramatically in the town centre.
“Anything is better than nothing. Get some people living in the town, get some shops people want.”
In a statement following the acquisition, a spokesman for MCR said: “The acquisition of Henblas Square is an exciting addition to our ever-expanding retail portfolio.
“As a business, we have a proven track record of reinvigorating distressed assets and working in conjunction with Wrexham Council, we are confident we can provide a mixed-use offering to the area in keeping with the overall Town Centre Masterplan.”
Cllr Terry Evans, Wrexham Council’s lead member for economic development and regeneration, also welcomed news, adding: “We’re very pleased MCR has decided to put their faith in Wrexham town centre, and invest in the heart of the town.”
See full story in the Leader