Regeneration of tired-looking Leigh Park shopping centre to go ahead

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MAJOR investment is finally on the way to breathe new life into a struggling shopping centre.

The Greywell Shopping Centre in Leigh Park has been bought for an undisclosed sum by a group of private investors, Havant Assets Ltd.

They say the precinct has ‘great potential’ and they are prepared to invest hundreds of thousands of pounds in revamping empty commercial and residential units.

Shopkeeper Helen Dunning, who owns Always Flowers in Greywell and chairs the traders’ association, said: ‘It’s fabulous. It’s great that someone is taking on the job and is going to spruce it up. We can’t wait.’

The centre, which opened in 1966, was formerly owned by Catalyst Sixth Retail LP.

Nigel Watson is the asset manager at London-based Sinclair Clark Allegra – working on behalf of the new owners – and said they had already filled four skips of rubbish and debris from the precinct.

He said: ‘It’s been a bit unloved over the past few years.

‘We want to put new life into it and we feel there’s great potential.

‘Our clients have set aside a substantial capital sum for refurbishment, branding and marketing as well as the improvement of many individual units, to make them more appealing to incoming tenants.’

Plans are afoot to refurbish commercial units and architects are working up designs for the residential areas.

Mr Watson said they had considered changing the name, but added: ‘Everyone knows it as the Greywell shopping centre.

‘We don’t see the point in changing it just for the sake of changing it. We want to improve it first.’

Letting agent Jeremy Braybrooke, of Osmond Brookes, said units of all sizes are available.

He said: ‘Terms are very flexible, rents are lower than they have been in the past and for the right tenants and uses there are incentives available to help tenants through that initial set-up period.

‘We are also happy to consider, subject to planning, uses other than retail, such as restaurants and takeaways, leisure and medical and offices.’

Local councillor Faith Ponsonby said: ‘It’s been run like an investment before where people were charging high rents to take the profit. It will be good to see lower rents so more shops can come in and we can get more footfall.’