Aylesbury Vale District Council has finally officially confirmed it is buying out Hale Leys Shopping Centre as part of a consortium.
The Bucks Herald revealed the deal back in December, but until this afternoon the council refused to comment on it.
A council spokesman said it is spending £4 million on the deal through a loan.
The purchase of Hale Leys is by Aylesbury Vale Estates (AVE), a joint venture company set up by Aylesbury Vale District Council (AVDC) and a consortium of investors co-ordinated by Guildhouse UK.
A joint statement by AVE and AVDC said: ‘AVE, with significant financial backing from AVDC, has purchased the freehold of the 95,000 sq ft centre, which occupies a key location in the heart of the town centre linking Market Square to the High Street, opposite Marks & Spencer, from Warner Estate. The 20-shop centre is home to large Boots and Next stores as well as a range of other retailers.
‘AVE’s acquisition of Hale Leys marks the start of a new era for the centre with refurbishment and redecoration planned as well as improvements to the tenant mix. The key location of Hale Leys – adjacent to the major development site on the north side of Exchange Street – means that it has a vital role to play in redeveloping the town centre. The AVDC’s on-going programme of work will ensure that town’s whole offer, including the existing Friars Square shopping centre and the new Aylesbury Waterside Theatre, works together to make Aylesbury a destination of choice across the catchment.
Graham Cole of AVE, said: “Aylesbury has a large and affluent catchment population, but currently suffers from significant leakage to other centres in the area. There is a real opportunity to improve it’s position in the sub-regional hierarchy, with a strategy designed to bind the town centre together linking the existing retail core with AVDC’s the new hotel and Waitrose scheme, which is currently underway, and the new theatre which AVDC has also delivered.”
Councillor Michael Edmonds, AVDC’s deputy Leader and cabinet member for economic development added: “AVDC’s reputation as a council willing to take bold decisions and work with partners to deliver exciting and innovative projects is well established. The involvement of AVDC in the Hale Leys purchase is in line with our commitment to making sure that Aylesbury grows and develops to meet the needs and aspirations of our significantly expanding population.”