Shopping centre making progress

A SHOPPING centre is enjoying a surge in its occupancy rates with more tenants possibly on the way.

Latest figures supplied to the Hartlepool Mail show 125 of the 160 units at the Middleton Grange Shopping Centre in Hartlepool are now taken.

The Mail told last week how three new shops were opening in the centre, including ladies fashion outlet Opus, fellow fashion store Krispa and Lizzie’s silk flowers in the indoor market.

Bhs is also on the way and centre manager Mark Rycraft said: “There are five more lettings which are in the hands of the solicitors. There is the caveat that they might not come but it is still a positive indication for the Middleton Grange Shopping Centre.

“It shows that more retailers are looking to invest in Hartlepool.”

Mr Rycraft said he understood the potential investors were a mix of high-street retailers.

He added: “I don’t think it symbolises the economy but it does show where we want to be and that is an attraction proposition for retailers.”

The interest in Hartlepool comes at a time when owners Premier Property Group (PPG) is in the middle of a major £2m investment in the shopping centre.

The Mail revealed PPG’s plans in May when we told how a rebrand, a facelift and a major push to bring in more business was all on the way.

It has so far paid dividends with Bhs taking a 15-year lease on a 35,000 sq ft store in the heart of the centre.

Mr Rycraft said further improvements may also be on the way once the facelift was complete.

He added: “We are looking at the internal facilities as well such as possibly improving the toilets and we will look at that within the next year.”