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Weaver Square Shopping Centre in crisis
LIVELIHOODS are in limbo now Weaver Square Shopping Centre has gone into receivership.
Shopkeepers feel left in the dark over what will happen next and charities, which were making use of the centre’s empty shops as display space rent-free, have been forced to move out.
The receivers, Colliers International, have been appointed by Nationwide Building Society.
But centre owners Weaver Square Investments have branded the move ‘ill judged and ill timed’ and emphasised that they have met their financial obligations.
In a statement to the Guardian they said: “The directors and employees of Weaver Square Investments, who own the centre, regret this event and believe the action ill-judged and ill-timed.
“The company was solvent on the date of appointment and had met all its financial commitments to the society.
“In the short term, the company will co-operate with the receivers for the benefit of the shopping centre, its tenants and Northwich centre generally, in the hope that in the longer term, the problems of the banking system will abate and wiser heads will prevail in the economy and the town planning system leading to the recovery of the high street.”
A Nationwide spokesman said: “Nationwide has been working closely with all parties to find a solution that best suits us and the borrower, Weaver Square Investments Ltd.
“However, we’ve been unable to reach an amicable solution.
“As a result, we’ve appointed LPA Receivers to manage the property (Weaver Square Shopping Centre) on our behalf.
“This was not a decision we took lightly.
“However, Nationwide has a duty to protect its members’ interests.
“We look forward to working to ensure a resolution that is in the best interests of all parties involved.”
A statement from Colliers said: “We can confirm that Law and Property Act Receivers (Jon Cookson and Richard Crompton), have been appointed on the Weaver Square Shopping Centre at Northwich.
“The receivers are currently undertaking preliminary investigations in order to devise the most pertinent strategy moving forwards.”
The shopping centre encompasses Witton Walk, up to Dilworths fishmongers and Greenwoods Menswear, The Arcade, including Seafarer and the Information Centre, and Market Way, including Assist Workforce recruitment consultancy and Optisavers opticians.
The land that the centre is built on is owned by Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWAC), while the centre itself is owned by Weaver Square Investments.
The council also owns the indoor and outdoor market, including all market premises that front on to Applemarket Street, but not market premises that open into Market Way.
A CWAC spokesman confirmed that CWAC, as tenants of the Information Centre, had received the letter notifying tenants of the appointment of receivers and added: “At this moment in time there is little more we can say apart from we are continuing dialogue with the company and Colliers.”