Large Town Centre Site Up To Let – Will New ‘Heart Of Town Centre’ Be Delivered?
With BHS set to close a large proportion of the modern development is up to let, with possible pointers to a change of use for Henblas Square to become a new ‘heart’ of the town with cafe & restaurants.
The offer document includes the 15,000 square foot Ty Henblas offices above the retail units, that had previously been occupied by Wrexham Council. The offices are now vacant and offered to let in their entirety.
The new sales bumpf notes three elements as beneficial to prospective retail tenants, the local pay and display parking, the new Arts Hub and a open minded local authority.
The overview details mentioning parking read: “Queen Street is home to a number of multiple occupiers including Café Nero, Greggs, CEX and The Money Shop, while Henblas Street links the town centre to Chester Street where there are a number of pay and display car parks including the peoples market multi-storey.”
(Above: The three shops on Queens St remain filled, the rest of the site appears up to let.)
Wrexham Council get two mentions, with the Arts Hub being a possible draw, “Wrexham Council have put forward a proposal to capitalise on the ever growing Arts & Culture sector by creating an arts and cultural hub in the peoples market, with the entrance on Chester Street opposite the entrance to TJ Hughes.”
Their second mention points to some form of discussion over change of use from retail to perhaps restaurants or similar, “Henblas Square comprises of a modern shopping development constructed in the late 1990s and offers occupiers large flexible accommodation within the town centre. The units would be suitable for a variety of uses and the local authority have indicated they would support change of use applications.”
Such a future cafe culture on Henblas Square is illustrated by the line that reads, “There is a potential for significant outdoor seating onto Henblas Street given the extent of the pavement.”
For those interested there are details on the eight areas up to let, with the hefty rateable values also stated.
The discussions with Wrexham Council hinted at in the documents perhaps are indicative of as yet unknown plans, with Town Centre Forum Chair Nigel Lewis posting on our Facebook page back in April an intriguing message saying “I predict that within 12 – 24 months Henblas St/ Square will be amazing.”
The Town Centre Masterplan unveiled earlier in the year also has Henblas Square as one of five ‘key development opportunities’ that have the ‘greatest potential to deliver the Masterplan with an opportunity to create a new town centre destination’.
The Masterplan noted that due to out of town centre shopping units, which have been approved and created via the planning process itself, the town centre has become ‘fragmented’. The Henblas Square area is specifically mentioned as being a victim of such external shopping offers, however the solution offered is: “The area around Chester Street (part), Henblas Square, Queen’s Square will be supported as locations for leisure, culture and arts.”
Placing Henblas Square at a ‘new heart to the town centre’ is also mentioned, “an indicative redevelopment to create an enlarged public and event space, improved quality of public realm and create opportunities for new town centre uses such as restaurant and café uses and improved daytime offer could be centred around Queens Square and/or Henblas Street”.
Although the Masterplan has been described as a framework or ‘aspiration’ to the future of the town centre, the area is specifically mentioned as the best place to achieve the goals of the weighty document, “…the area around Henblas Street, the General and Butchers Markets present the best opportunities for intervention and potential impact in delivering the Masterplan objectives”
Several empty units on a development site may appear to be an opportunity for plans to be advanced, there is of course a get-out if nothing happens, with the caveat note in the Masterplan of “Owner buy-in, finance and delivery are uncertain, consequently delivery is long term.”
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