'Little interest in new-look town'

PUBLISHED: 16:10 14 May 2008 | UPDATED: 22:26 26 October 2009

Not enough retailers signing up has caused delay, say developers

Not enough retailers signing up has caused delay, say developers

DEVELOPERS have secured interest in far less than half the retail area in Hatfield town centre. Only 20 per cent of the development has so far attracted possible tenants. St Modwen needs at least 50 per cent for work to begin. Last week, the WHT revealed

DEVELOPERS have secured interest in far less than half the retail area in Hatfield town centre.

Only 20 per cent of the development has so far attracted possible tenants.

St Modwen needs at least 50 per cent for work to begin.

Last week, the WHT revealed that the revamp had been put on hold indefinitely due to chaos in the economic market mainly affecting retailers.

The only company to commit at present to the new-look town centre are Wilkinson, who signed at the end of April.

Critics have since scoffed at news of the Wilkinson household store deal, claiming that it had been common knowledge for months.

But Rupert Wood, regional manager of St Modwen, said: "While it was known that Wilkinson was likely to be part of the new town centre, they had not signed a legal agreement until April 30, 2008."

Although other St Modwen developments continue around the country, Mr Wood reiterated that it was the "credit crunch" that had hit retailers and in turn halted the revamp.

"Everyone is aware that the UK is currently facing a challenging economic situation as a result of the 'credit crunch'," he said.

"In relation to Hatfield, this has meant that one of the fundamental elements which will allow the scheme to start on site has been affected.

"The 'credit crunch' is affecting consumer spending and this has had an impact on retailers who are currently reluctant to open new or additional stores."

Until more retailers were secured, a start date for the regeneration of the town centre was uncertain, he added.

However, St Modwen's bosses stressed they were still in discussion with other companies about purchasing retail space.

Mr Wood also told the WHT that there were no plans to adapt the project, insisting there was "no requirement to reduce the retail space proposed".


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