I was very interested to see that Herefordshire Council have recently purchased the leasehold interest and a section of additional freehold in the Maylord shopping centre for £4.5million.

Councillor Gemma Davis in her statement on the purchase suggested that it supported the council’s vision for the county but Councillor David Hitchiner in the video released on the purchase seemed to be asking for ideas from residents about how the building might be used.

I am therefore rather puzzled about the rationale and why it was considered a good investment.

RELATED NEWS: Council to buy Maylord shopping centre for £4.5m

I should accordingly be grateful to know exactly what ideas there are for capitalising on this significant investment and why it was considered it should take priority over other pressing spending needs in the county.

Councillor Hitchiner seemed to suggest that there would be a good return from rental income from individual retail outlets but this seems far from certain in the current climate, exacerbated by the ongoing pandemic and when the largest shopping centre management company in the country recently went into administration.

What assurances can the Council offer about the returns on this investment for its residents and any costs that might fall on rate payers given that a number of the retail units in the centre stand empty and are likely to remain so?

Helen Barker

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