THE LEADER of Bromsgrove District Council has warned it ‘could take a while’ to find a permanent occupier for the town’s former Market Hall site after the legal agreement with the firm marketing it expired, landing control back to the authority.
But Coun Geoff Denaro said officers had been asked to look for a temporary occupier for the rest of the site while decisions were being made on to find a more permanent tenant.
“I expect a lot to happen over the next two years. We have been working hard.
“While we look for an full-time occupier I think it would be a good idea to have a small business take over – pop-up shops if you like – someone who is willing to put up a tent and start selling.
“Alternatively in the summer we could have a small stage there to hold live events or perhaps an ice rink at Christmas?
“I’m thinking out loud now but what I know is it is important we avoid handing the site back to a developer.
“We should do it ourselves.”
Prior to that agreement with the Hinton Group, work on the £2.1million development was delayed several years when developer Opus pulled out of the sale in 2014.
Plans for a cinema and high profile retailer taking over the site were discussed at the time but never materialised.
Coun Denaro said: “I know it’s been frustrating watching it unfold but our officers will soon carry out a soft market test to see who is interested in doing something on the site.
“So much has changed since the first contract was signed so we need to think long and hard about what will be the most beneficial for the town as well as what will fit in the space allowed.”
A 9,000sq ft Waitrose was built on part of the land in 2017, is trading well and has been well-received by residents.
* What do you think? What shops or facilities would you like to see on the former Bromsgrove Market Hall site? Send us your views by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org