Council buys ex-Topman shop leasehold in Spindles arcade for £300k

Reporter: Charlotte Green, Local Democracy Reporter
Date published: 01 June 2021

Bosses in Oldham have bought the leasehold of a shop in the Spindles shopping arcade for £300k.

The council has purchased the former Topman unit in the Spindles Town Square Shopping Centre ahead of it going to auction.

A spokesperson said the town hall was ‘fully aware’ that the unit was not available when the rest of the Spindles shopping centre was bought in October last year.

The council had then spent £9.5 million on buying up the centre from its capital budget.

The intention is to relocate Tommyfield Market into the complex, and hundreds of council staff into empty office spaces in the mezzanine floors of the shopping centre.

The spokesperson added that the leasehold opportunity subsequently arose for the Topman unit linked to national announcements about the administration of former owners, Arcadia Group.

The authority then purchased the leasehold on the unit for £300k, which was ‘under the market estimate and suggested auction price for the unit’.

A decision notice states that not progressing with the acquisition meant the risks of ‘third party control, lettings and future financial and legal claims are a high risk to the future redevelopment of the asset and reputation of the town centre’.

The option of acquiring the site at auction was also ruled out as chiefs said it was anticipated there would be a ‘significant amount of interest’ in the leasehold, which would make it a ‘costly exercise’.

Council leader Arooj Shah said: “The purchase of the leasehold for the former Topman unit enables the council to have strategic control over the entire site.

“This unit provides a key gateway and entrance to the shopping centre and allows us to have more influence over the types of business we want – and importantly do not want – in the shopping centre and in our town centre.

“All units and leaseholds within the centre are now in council ownership and we look forward to bringing you more news on our exciting redevelopment plans for the centre soon.

“In the meantime, please continue to support your local high streets and traders.

"They are Covid safe and ready to welcome you back – your support will be hugely appreciated.”

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