A shopping centre in Barnsley, South Yorkshire has entered receivership, amid reports it was struggling to compete with a council-owned town centre redevelopment.

Barnsley Shopping Centre Receivership

The Alhambra Shopping Centre, also based in the heart of the town, covers 182,000 sq ft and has around 40 retail units, which include Primark, Iceland and Wilko – it was opened in 1991. It was reported that despite the receivership, there would be no operational impact on tenants or shoppers. The Alhambra is owned and operated by Barnsley Shopping Centre, Ltd, which has a registered office address in Guernsey.

The Alhambra had been described as a “mini Meadowhall” after the shopping centre in Sheffield which is the largest in Yorkshire. A new owner is now being sought for the centre with calls for the buyer to play an active role in rejuvenating the facility.

Meanwhile, reports have said local people say that The Alhambra began to lose customers because the local authority chose to redevelop the neighbouring town centre, which is now known as The Glass Works – and this proved more successful. 

The Glass Works is home to retailers including Next, TK Maxx and Sports Direct and also has a new public square. It was reported that TK Maxx and Next were both formerly in The Alhambra and they are alleged to be now paying less in rent.

According to Barnsley Council leader, Sir Steve Houghton: “It’s obviously very disappointing news to see that the Alhambra Centre has gone into receivership, but it’s good news that the centre is not closing and will keep trading. The footfall in the town centre is high and we’re working with businesses, including the Alhambra Centre, to attract as many people as possible with the retail and leisure offer.”

Simon Renshaw, director with Company Debt, commented: “We heard in the summer that as many as 70 of the UK’s 700 shopping centres could need to close – but at least a new buyer is being sought for The Alhambra. In many locations, there needs to be a radical rethink and ageing developments that fail to attract shoppers this Christmas will be particularly vulnerable in 2022.

“Many shopping centres are now plagued with empty units and they can enter a downward spiral – owners tend to spend less on maintenance and attractions which means fewer shoppers while tenants become harder to attract and so rents plummet. As we move forward after the pandemic, we need to see more ambitious redevelopment plans activated for the less successful malls, whether as housing, leisure or other attractions that will breathe new life into our town centres.”