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Independent review says struggling retailers cannot be relied on to prop up civic space

Three years ago Ashford’s dated 1980s-built shopping precinct Park Mall was in a death spiral as poor sales saw retailers queue up to quit the Kent town.

To stop the rot Ashford borough council stepped in and bought the struggling precinct for a six-figure sum from its owner, a subsidiary of a Swiss bank that had failed to invest in it. Today the 32-shop arcade is virtually full – and just about breaking even – after the council offered independent retailers more flexible terms in order to fill the empty stores.


The Guardian

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