PR photo of four Teignbridge District Council members in front of Market Walk shopping centre

Council’s multi-million pound shopping centre purchase secures bright future for Newton Abbot

Teignbridge District Council has today announced the successful completion of the largest investment in its history following the £13 million acquisition of Newton Abbot’s Market Walk shopping centre.
Purchased to enhance the centre of the town and to provide a regular and reliable source of income for the Council, the acquisition of the 91,000 square foot site gives Teignbridge the ability to positively influence the future development of Newton Abbot’s central shopping district.
With 27 retail units, which include New Look, Wilko, Edinburgh Woollen Mill, Body Shop, Clarks, Holland & Barrett, Iceland, H Samuel and Bon Marche among others, Market Walk forms an important part of Newton Abbot’s retail offering.
The shopping centre sits next to the Teignbridge owned Market Hall and can be accessed from Courtenay Street as well as from Sherborne Road via Market Square and Queen Street.  Market Walk’s market square hosts outdoor markets on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays that extend through Market Walk to Courtenay Street, which hosts additional produce markets every Tuesday and Friday.
Supported unanimously by Teignbridge’s Full Council at its meeting on 8 December 2015, the strategic investment in Market Walk has been made to offset the impact of reductions in government grants.  Teignbridge believes the purchase will enable it to reinvest in the town as both a retail and tourism destination centre while keeping tax levels low for local residents.
Montagu Evans were appointed as property consultants to provide valuation and investment advice and to help manage negotiations on behalf of Teignbridge.
Following an in-depth review of all financial data, the business case and a comprehensive investment analysis, the decision was taken by Full Council to go ahead with the acquisition, which was purchased following a competitive bid process from LaSalle Investment Management, completing at 4pm on 10th February.  Due diligence was undertaken to ensure that the Council obtained best value from the process.
The purchase now enables Teignbridge to play a key role in the future regeneration of the town centre, which may not have been delivered had Market Walk remained under private sector ownership.  Importantly it serves to support the development of a master plan that takes into account the future ambitions for the town centre as outlined in Teignbridge’s Local Plan and the Newton Abbot Regeneration Study, produced and consulted on in 2010.
Following the acquisition Teignbridge will invest in a series of immediate improvements to brighten the look and feel of Market Walk, including a thorough clean of the walkways and entrance points.  Further improvements, which are designed to enhance the shopping centre, are currently being considered.
As part of its ongoing management Teignbridge will invest in the marketing of Market Walk to help raise the shopping centre’s profile among shoppers in the local area.  A series of communication campaigns will be developed to help increase footfall and sales, making Market Walk an increasingly attractive site for its diverse range of local and national retail outlets.
Having made the purchase Teignbridge aims to work closely with Newton Abbot Town Council, Newton Abbot’s Town Development Manager Sally Henley and other retailers to help boost Newton Abbot’s appeal as both a shopping and tourism destination.
Cllr Jeremy Christophers, Leader of Teignbridge District Council and Group Leader for the Conservatives, said:
“Teignbridge is an aspirational council which makes bold, brave decisions to help safeguard the future of public services, offset future reductions in central government grants while aiming to keep town tax levels as low as possible for residents.
“The purchase enables Teignbridge to positively influence the future development of Newton Abbot’s central shopping district and provides a regular and reliable source of income for the council. We will work with all our partners to further boost Newton Abbot’s appeal as a shopping and tourism destination.”
Cllr Mike Haines, Teignbridge District Council’s Group Leader for the Independents, said:  ‘
“This is excellent news for Teignbridge residents, particularly those in Newton Abbot and surrounding area, as it will make future improvements in the town easier to achieve with Teignbridge being the landowner of this important town centre site, as well as adjacent sites.
“In addition the investment will provide long term financial benefit to the whole district and the value of the investment is likely to increase when town centre improvements make Newton Abbot a more attractive retail destination.”
Cllr Gordon Hook, Teignbridge District Council’s Group Leader for the Liberal Democrats said:
“As Central Government continues to cut its grant aid to local authorities, councils need to explore all ways of raising their own money to maintain services. Owning this site has the potential for a considerable return on investment, which can only be good for local residents and the future of this wonderful, vibrant and busy town.”
Cllr Doug Hellier-Laing, Teignbridge District Council’s Executive member for Economy, Skills and Tourism, said:
“Without doubt, the acquisition of Market Walk Shopping Centre is the best thing to happen to Newton Abbot in a long time. It will enable Teignbridge District Council, in conjunction with Newton Abbot Town Council and other interested organisations, to shape the centre of Newton Abbot into a vibrant and desirable place for both residents and visitors, to shop and be entertained in.”
Cllr Mike Ryan, Newton Abbot Town Council’s Mayor said:
“Newton Abbot Town Council considers the acquisition of Market Walk Shopping Centre by the District Council as an extremely positive development in the ongoing strengthening of the retail offer in Newton Abbot. It will contribute to the ability of the local Councils to better influence the increasingly positive economic vitality of the area as a whole.”
Sally Henley, Newton Abbot’s Town Development Manager, said:
“Market Walk Shopping Centre contains many of the big brand high street retail names and it represents a significant portion of the town’s real estate. A precedent of local authority purchase and management of assets of this nature has already been set by other local authorities in the country, so this is an excellent strategic move, which will give Teignbridge District Council more power to shape the ongoing improvements to Newton Abbot town centre in line with the local plan.”
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