TRADERS at a Worcester shopping arcade have welcomed the owners' move to sell units in a bid to regenerate the site.

The Worcester News understands half the units at Reindeer Court have already been sold to bars, cafes, beauticians and tattoo artists, with a further rumour another shop will be a wine merchants.

The shopping arcade, accessed via The Shambles, Mealcheapen Street and New Street in Worcester city centre, currently has 13 disused units marked as for sale or let, which recently led to Sam McCarthy, from Worcester BID, saying it needed "support more than ever".

But current owner Reindeer Court Development Corporation Ltd has confirmed it is selling individual retail units on a freehold and virtual freehold basis to individuals and new businesses - rather than selling the entire shopping centre - which has led to the properties attracting "a diversity of potential buyers looking to set up new businesses, who will not only will be the owner of the business but also the owner of their property".

We understand  some of the existing occupiers of units have taken up the opportunity to own their unit, while others are currently in discussions.

Among the independents that have left are Sassy Boutique, Beautiful Flowers, Little Piano Shop and Rock Follies Vintage.

One of the shop windows yesterday had an 'under offer' sign outside, while another had a sign saying 'opening soon' - understood to be a glass and metal ware shop.

There are currently 10 units occupied, including Fuel Clothers, Hangar Cafe and Ian Quartermaine Jewellery. 

Traders at the shopping arcade have said the owners' move was potentially good, as it

was filling empty units and creating more footfall that will benefit them.

Clint Webbe, who with business owner Matt Haley runs deli Neighbourhood, said it had not taken up the chance to buy the individual site, but believe it will be a good thing.

"It is a good idea," he said.

"Hopefully it will help fill the empty units. We have heard most of them have sold now. 

"It has looked scruffy, but we are hopeful it will be a regenerated area now.

"If our neighbours are a cafe, this could be a food area.

"We see people walk past and comment on the empty shops. We need people to walk in support us independents."

Sarah Roberts, who only opened her new Natural Definition salon on Monday, said she was hopeful for the future of Reindeer Court.

"A lot are independents here, and we need a mixture of businesses," she said.

"It is definitely a good move."

The statement from the owner, that came from Fisher German which manages the site, said: "Reindeer Court Development Corporation Ltd, have devised a creative way to divest their holding by selling the individual retail units. 

"As a result of adopting this strategy, during the course of marketing of the units, the properties have attracted a diversity of potential buyers looking to set up new businesses, who will not only will be the owner of the business but also the owner of their property.
"The opportunity to acquire individual retail units within an established and historic shopping arcade has also attracted individual investors looking to acquire units, both let and vacant, within their SIPPs (Self-Invested Personal Pensions)."