A RUN-DOWN shopping centre is being given a £1m facelift.
Greywell Precinct in Leigh Park will be 50 next year and, ahead of the milestone, the landlords are sprucing it up in a bid to attract more businesses and customers.
Something needed to happen because the community has lost interest in the precinct and I think this will really bring people back to support tradersTracy Powell
The metal shop canopies are being taken down and the old signage will be replaced with brighter, modern ones.
Concrete benches have been pulled out and replaced by stainless steal seating, opening up the middle of the precinct.
Tracy Powell, the owner of Time Out Cafe, said: ‘It’s fantastic and long overdue.
‘Something needed to happen because the community has lost interest in the precinct and this will really bring people back to support traders. If the landlord didn’t give it a facelift it could easily end up like the old Tricorn in Portsmouth.
‘A lot of the traders are putting their own money into the precinct to try and provide something better for the community.
‘They need our shops and we need them.’
There are still a number of empty shops at the bottom end of the precinct and Mrs Powell thinks that will change if the landlord can attract a big chain.
Tom Holloway, a chartered surveyor and agent for the landlord, said: ‘What we are seeing now is the client is putting their hands in their pockets to tidy up the communal areas.
‘They are going to develop some of the upper parts.
‘Some of the disused store areas for some of the shops are now being converted into apartments.
‘With all that in the mix, we are going to have a centre that will look better than it has done for quite some time.
‘It will definitely have a positive impact on the area.
‘We’re in talks with a national chain to further enhance the offering.
‘It will be another good brand in there which you would not have expected to see a few years ago.’
Last month, Park Parade shopping centre, which runs parallel to Greywell, had major celebrations for its 50th anniversary.
Landlord Mark Smith has been buying up all the empty shops and bringing them back into use.
Some had been empty for more than 20 years.
Following Park Parade’s lead, Leigh Park Traders’ Association, which is made up of the shopkeepers, has organised a week of events taking place in May next year to mark the 50th anniversary.
A Halloween shop window display competition will be judged today and a children’s Halloween fancy dress competition takes place at 2pm on Saturday.
A fortnightly car boot sale, in the centre of the precinct, began earlier this month. It takes place today.
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