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Poor response puts Worcester shopping and leisure revamp at risk
AMBITIOUS proposals for a new shopping and leisure complex in Worcester are being scaled down - after a lack of interest from investors.
Your Worcester News can exclusively reveal how just one offer has been made to buy the city's mothballed Trinity House building and Cornmarket car park since it was placed for sale last August.
The mystery buyer's bid was rejected out of hand for being too low - with Worcestershire County Council calling the lack of progress "disappointing".
Your Worcester News can now reveal how plans to sell both Trinity House and the car park in a joint deal have been shelved - with the Cornmarket taken off the market.
The county council, which was working with Worcester City Council on the project, has now decided to go it alone and try to push through a sale for Trinity House as a standalone asset.
Bosses at County Hall say they hope it will make a deal more straightforward for investors.
The car park, which has 85 spaces, is owned by the city council while Trinity House, the former city Co-op and one of Worcester's most derided buildings, is owned by the county.
Last year there was talk about the likes of John Lewis potentially eyeing it up, but the retailer is now concentrating on the potential new out-of-town shopping mall off Newtown Road in a proposed deal with developer Land Securities.
The county council says it is now selling Trinity House "independently", adding that it is "following a disappointing response" to the joint marketing of both sites.
It says it had one firm offer, and one proposal, "neither of which were acceptable" for the site, off Trinity Street.
The city council remains bullish about the situation and says a parting of ways was a natural response given the lack of response.
Councillor Simon Geraghty, the leader, said: "At some point it was always going to be entirely logical and rational for that to have happened given just the one offer."
Adrian Field, from Worcester's Business Improvement District (BID), which represents city traders, said: "Shops are still finding it tough in terms of trade and while it is disappointing, it's not wholly surprising.
"With a bigger plot of land you get more potential issues like the highways access - whether including that car park put developers off I don't know.
"We know of the interest in revamping Cathedral Plaza, so investors are out there.
"Hopefully the county council going it alone might spark some new interest."
Councillor John Campion, the county council's cabinet member for transformation said: "The council will continue to manage its assets to maximise the financial and economic regeneration benefits for the taxpayer including Trinity House."
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