Decision set for new year on Swansgate future

Wellingborough's Swansgate Centre.
Wellingborough's Swansgate Centre.

The future of the Swansgate Shopping Centre in Wellingborough is unlikely to be decided until the new year after the property fund which owns it went into administration.

Partners from Grant Thornton were appointed to the Britannica fund, managed by CBRE Global Investors.

The companies over which the administrators have been appointed control the Britannica estate, which consists of eight shopping centres, including County Square in Ashford, the Strand in Bootle, the Gates in Durham, Rivergate in Irvine, the Haymarket in Leicester, Spindles, the Town Square in Oldham and the Wellingborough centre.

The Swansgate has continued to trade as normal, and is expected to do so until a decision is made about its future.

Malcolm Shierson, one of the joint administrators from Grant Thornton, said: “The Swansgate Centre in Wellingborough has continued to trade normally since the appointment of administrators in mid-September.

“Currently we are assessing the differing options for the future of the centre, a process that is likely to be ongoing until the new year.”

The Britannica fund was set up by ING Real Estate Investment Management in 2005, and the management passed to CBRE when the firm bought ING REIM last year.

It was once valued at more than £700m, but its assets are now understood to be worth around the same as its debt – £360m.

Alan Piggot, chairman of the Wellingborough Chamber of Commerce, said he did not see the news as reason for concern. He said: “This is not an unusual situation, where this type of trading goes into administration and another one takes it on.”

Mr Piggot said it could even be a positive move for the future of the Swansgate as any potential new owner could spend money on it.

Ownership of the centre has changed hands about four times since it first opened. The land on which the Swansgate was built is owned by Wellingborough Council and the local authority leased it to the developer who built the centre in 1977. It was previously known as the Arndale Shopping Centre.