Bury Council has started talks to buy Longfield Shopping Centre from Hollins Murray Group to progress the delivery of a mixed-use scheme in the town centre in partnership with Muse Developments.
HMG is courting reduced offers for the retail complex, presenting Bury with the opportunity to take control of the centre and its long-awaited redevelopment into “a distinct, usable civic external space, which symbolises the centre of the neighbourhood”.
A report to Bury Council’s cabinet states that it has received notification that HMG would be “willing to consider a reduced price” for the sale of Longfield until the summer, requiring the council to act fast if it wishes to buy the seven-acre site.
“Until now, the purchase price for the shopping centre has been too high to develop a viable scheme”, the council said in the report.
As well as seeking approval for the acquisition of the retail centre, the council is also requesting permission from its cabinet to enter into a joint venture with Muse to bring forward the mixed-use project.
Regeneration developer Muse has been involved with the proposed overhaul of Longfield Shopping Centre since 2016 when HMG appointed the firm to draw up proposals for its redevelopment into a residential-led scheme featuring a 60,000 sq ft supermarket but the project has not progressed so far.
The scope of the scheme has changed in the intervening years and the latest vision for the project features homes, a library and community hub, small business workspace, outdoor space and public realm and a market hall, according to the council.
“The purchase of Longfield Shopping Centre will be a catalyst post Covid-19 for delivering Bury Council’s regeneration ambitions,” the report said.
Meanwhile, Bury Council is expected this week to sign off its planned purchase of two 1960s retail blocks in Radcliffe town centre from London & Associated Properties, enabling it to progress a town centre mixed-use scheme there.