Uncertainty over Kendal's £100m K Village - but administrators say it will continue as shopping centre for 'foreseeable future'

EMPTY: The K Village outlet centre this week

EMPTY: The K Village outlet centre this week

First published in News The Westmorland Gazette: Photograph of the Author by , Senior Reporter

THE future of Kendal’s £100 million K Village shopping complex has been plunged into doubt after its owners went into administration.

Kendal Riverside Ltd referred itself to administrators KPMG on December 28 - but this week both insisted it was ‘business as usual’ for the centre.

Bosses hailed the development, built on the site of the former K Shoes factory, the ‘focal point for the regeneration of Kendal’ at a fanfare launch in July 2010.

But they struggled to attract retailers to fill units in the troubled venue with a string of businesses pulling out citing poor sales.

Of the 90 apartments built as part of the scheme, it is believed as few as two have been sold.

The centre’s ‘pay-on-exit’ parking system has also been criticised, but one trader said footfall had increased since charges were reduced.

Joint administrator John Hansen told the Gazette he had established how much creditors were owed but was keeping tight-lipped over the figure.

But he revealed that he had not engaged with a potential buyer, nor had the centre been put on the market.

“We are gathering a lot of information from the company’s records and directors to get ourselves up to speed,” said Mr Hansen.

“We we will be communicating with stakeholders, creditors and suppliers to come up with a plan for going forward and a strategy that’s agreed by the bank.”

He went on: “Liquidation is not on our radar at the moment. It’s very hard to crystal ball something like this but, at this point, it’s our intention to keep it open as a shopping centre for the foreseeable future.”

Restaurant Moe’s Grill, beauty specialist All Whellan Good, chocolate maker Cadbury, women’s clothing retailer Alexon and health food shop Juilan Graves have left the centre since its launch.

Outdoor chain Mountain Warehouse has confirmed it is leaving.

Just a handful of shoppers were seen browsing the centre this week, when shops still trading were: Clarks, Double Two, Denby, Lakeland, Domo, Cotton Traders, Pavers Shoes, Procook, Costa, Whittard of Chelsea, The Works, Bedeck, Trespass and Klass.

Double Two chairman Richard Donner described the store’s performance as ‘an absolute disaster’ - the worst of its 70 nationwide shops.

He said: “It (K Village) was really good before, with hundreds of coaches every month and lots of people in shops.

“Then they rebuilt it with a layer of houses and an enormous car park which looks like a liner.

“We’ve two years left on our lease and, if it doesn’t improve, we’ll be leaving at the end of that time with great joy.”

But Lakeland retail director Sue Hext was more optimistic. She said: “We traded very well over Christmas. Since they reduced car parking fees, we’ve noticed an increase in footfall.”

South Lakeland District Council leader Peter Thornton said it was a ‘tribute’ to Kendal Riverside that they managed to deliver K Village at a time when other construction projects were being left half-built.

He described K Village as a ‘bold concept’ which had been ‘caught out by the economy’.

Westmorland and Lonsdale MP Tim Farron said the venue needed an ‘anchor store’ like Debenhams or Primark to entice shoppers.

“Shops in K Village are doing a great job, it’s not their fault that the holdings company has gone to the wall and the number one priority is keeping people in their jobs,” said Mr Farron.

He said only ‘one or two’ apartments at the complex had been sold and called for a housing association to take them on.

Meanwhile, a political row has broken out over £100,000 owed from the K Village development.

Kendal Riverside is due to pay the sum to South Lakeland District Council in order to fulfil a planning condition to provide funding for projects in Kendal.

Opposition councillors accused SLDC of taking a ‘casino-style bet’ by giving the company a £100,000 ‘loan’ out of public funds which it may not now get back.

SLDC shadow spokesman Coun Ben Berry said: “This is a dire situation. We have jobs and businesses on the line and, due to a casino style bet on the firm, SLDC is set to lose £100,000 that it simply cannot do without.”

But Coun Thornton hit back: “It is wrong to say we have given them a loan. It’s money that we wouldn’t have received had K Village not gone up.

“It is not money the council has lost, it’s simply £100,000 to be paid to us. All of the creditors could lose out, and the council is one of the creditors.”

Coun Thornton said Kendal Riverside had given about £350,000 to the council to fund a series of improvements in Kendal, including the Kirkland regeneration scheme.

He confirmed that a further £100,000 – allocated by the council for the town’s Highgate development – was still outstanding.

After news of K Village's troubles emerged, SLDC issued a statement listing the benefits it said had been brought to Kendal as a result of financial contributions from Kendal Riverside, including ‘pay-on-exit’ parking at the Westmorland Shopping Centre and 40 new homes in Lound Place. 

K Village was one of just two retail complexes to open in the UK in 2010.

The aim was to create 300 jobs and attract 1.5 million visitors and 4,000 coaches a year.

Kendal Riverside employs three people. 

Comments (16)

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10:19am Fri 11 Jan 13

magical trevor says...

Woops....I don't think Councillor Thornton has really thought about what he's said. Contradictions abound.
Woops....I don't think Councillor Thornton has really thought about what he's said. Contradictions abound. magical trevor
  • Score: 0

10:25am Fri 11 Jan 13

Kent123 says...

Thornton you spent £100,000 of our money knowing full well that you would NEVER receive the money from K Shopping Village (see below).

Do the decent thing and resign.

The latest set of accounts for Kendal Riverside Limited (K Shopping Village) for the 18 months to 31 March 2011 were filed at Companies House on 24 December 2011.

These accounts were available when Peter Thornton and his “cabinet” decided to go ahead with the Highgate improvements, having allowed Kendal Riverside to defer the £100,000 contribution towards the cost.

The auditor’s (Pricewaterhouse Coopers LLP) report highlights the uncertainty of Kendal Riverside’s financial position:

The company incurred a loss of £40,198,109 during the period ended 31 March 2011and at that date the company had net current liabilities of £71,656,581. Material uncertainties have been identified in respect of the financing of the company’s operations as current [banking} facilities have expired and currently stand at £55,236,240. This therefore may cast significant doubt about the company’s ability to continue as a going concern.
Thornton you spent £100,000 of our money knowing full well that you would NEVER receive the money from K Shopping Village (see below). Do the decent thing and resign. The latest set of accounts for Kendal Riverside Limited (K Shopping Village) for the 18 months to 31 March 2011 were filed at Companies House on 24 December 2011. These accounts were available when Peter Thornton and his “cabinet” decided to go ahead with the Highgate improvements, having allowed Kendal Riverside to defer the £100,000 contribution towards the cost. The auditor’s (Pricewaterhouse Coopers LLP) report highlights the uncertainty of Kendal Riverside’s financial position: The company incurred a loss of £40,198,109 during the period ended 31 March 2011and at that date the company had net current liabilities of £71,656,581. Material uncertainties have been identified in respect of the financing of the company’s operations as current [banking} facilities have expired and currently stand at £55,236,240. This therefore may cast significant doubt about the company’s ability to continue as a going concern. Kent123
  • Score: 0

3:08pm Fri 11 Jan 13

Kendmoor says...

Blimey - With that information available it should have been....fairly clear that the £100,000 wasn't going to make an apperance.

Though I'm just wondering if someone could clarify where this elusive "£100,000" that was supposedly spent by the council was actually spent? I mean, if the £100,000 was going to be spent regardless of K-villages investment..of course it matters that the money isn't going to make an apperance - but the money being spent wasn't reliant on the money coming from K-village? It was going to be spent either way (pardon my ignorance in these matters I'm just trying to make head and tale of it all). If I was owed money and I crashed my car, that car still needs repairing anyway regardless of the money owed to me so I'm going to spend that money with or without the help of the money owed to me; of course, I'm going to hope I can get the money owed to me at some point, but going to be a little tricky if the person dies?
Blimey - With that information available it should have been....fairly clear that the £100,000 wasn't going to make an apperance. Though I'm just wondering if someone could clarify where this elusive "£100,000" that was supposedly spent by the council was actually spent? I mean, if the £100,000 was going to be spent regardless of K-villages investment..of course it matters that the money isn't going to make an apperance - but the money being spent wasn't reliant on the money coming from K-village? It was going to be spent either way (pardon my ignorance in these matters I'm just trying to make head and tale of it all). If I was owed money and I crashed my car, that car still needs repairing anyway regardless of the money owed to me so I'm going to spend that money with or without the help of the money owed to me; of course, I'm going to hope I can get the money owed to me at some point, but going to be a little tricky if the person dies? Kendmoor
  • Score: 0

3:53pm Fri 11 Jan 13

Geoff103 says...

“It is not money the council has lost, it’s simply £100,000 to be paid to us. All of the creditors could lose out, and the council is one of the creditors.”

If it's not paid - and that seems highly unlikely - then it's losy.

If it's lost, then it has to be made up from other sources:

1) reduced spending elsewhere
2) increased council tax
3) council reserves
4) increased parking fees and other revenues
5) reduced councillors' expenses
6) a surcharge on the councillors for malfeasance in office.

Only one of these is likely and only one other would be the correct course of action. Unfortunately, they are not aligned.

No prizes for guessing that No 6 is the least likely yet the most appropriate.
“It is not money the council has lost, it’s simply £100,000 to be paid to us. All of the creditors could lose out, and the council is one of the creditors.” If it's not paid - and that seems highly unlikely - then it's losy. If it's lost, then it has to be made up from other sources: 1) reduced spending elsewhere 2) increased council tax 3) council reserves 4) increased parking fees and other revenues 5) reduced councillors' expenses 6) a surcharge on the councillors for malfeasance in office. Only one of these is likely and only one other would be the correct course of action. Unfortunately, they are not aligned. No prizes for guessing that No 6 is the least likely yet the most appropriate. Geoff103
  • Score: 0

8:00pm Fri 11 Jan 13

oceancloud says...

South Lakeland District Council leader Peter Thornton said it was a ‘tribute’ to Kendal Riverside that they managed to deliver K Village at a time when other construction projects were being left half-built.

He described K Village as a ‘bold concept’ which had been ‘caught out by the economy’.

What a load of cobblers. They have totally misjudged what the people of Kendal and visitors to Kendal want. They were able to fill the place before but how many of the original shops moved to the new development. How on earth can the expected 4,000 coaches be expected to materialise when there is not even a coach park. There was free parking before but not now. The economic climate has nothing to do with it. Put the right shops there and people will use it.
South Lakeland District Council leader Peter Thornton said it was a ‘tribute’ to Kendal Riverside that they managed to deliver K Village at a time when other construction projects were being left half-built. He described K Village as a ‘bold concept’ which had been ‘caught out by the economy’. What a load of cobblers. They have totally misjudged what the people of Kendal and visitors to Kendal want. They were able to fill the place before but how many of the original shops moved to the new development. How on earth can the expected 4,000 coaches be expected to materialise when there is not even a coach park. There was free parking before but not now. The economic climate has nothing to do with it. Put the right shops there and people will use it. oceancloud
  • Score: 0

11:31pm Fri 11 Jan 13

blade stall says...

Are the figures circa 50m correct or have i misread it??
Are the figures circa 50m correct or have i misread it?? blade stall
  • Score: 0

12:46pm Sat 12 Jan 13

GBmusic says...

In the interest of fairness and balance, I think it's important to state the following:

There is a coach park exclusively for use by K Village customers at the Leisure Centre as well as a large 'drop off' bay on Lound Rd.

The new centre car park is secure and underground, so cannot be fairly compared to old K Village. Also the current costs are £1 for 4 hours, free on Thursdays 4-6. This makes it one of the cheapest car parks in Cumbria!

Agreed, more shops, less empty units is obviously going to improve the place and perhaps new buyers with money to invest will make this happen. If K Village is successfull, it could only benefit Kendal!

What the centre and the many local people that work there need right now is support! Not negativity and endless talk of knocking the place down and replacing it with a Supermarket!
In the interest of fairness and balance, I think it's important to state the following: There is a coach park exclusively for use by K Village customers at the Leisure Centre as well as a large 'drop off' bay on Lound Rd. The new centre car park is secure and underground, so cannot be fairly compared to old K Village. Also the current costs are £1 for 4 hours, free on Thursdays 4-6. This makes it one of the cheapest car parks in Cumbria! Agreed, more shops, less empty units is obviously going to improve the place and perhaps new buyers with money to invest will make this happen. If K Village is successfull, it could only benefit Kendal! What the centre and the many local people that work there need right now is support! Not negativity and endless talk of knocking the place down and replacing it with a Supermarket! GBmusic
  • Score: 0

10:05pm Sat 12 Jan 13

Reverend Mark says...

blade stall wrote:
Are the figures circa 50m correct or have i misread it??
£100m in the headline!
[quote][p][bold]blade stall[/bold] wrote: Are the figures circa 50m correct or have i misread it??[/p][/quote]£100m in the headline! Reverend Mark
  • Score: 0

1:40pm Sun 13 Jan 13

David Hill says...

90 Apartments indeed, I have been looking for somewhere reasonably priced to live for my family, with 3 bedroomed houses costing £750 a month, just think of the rental income these 90 apartments could have made, the whole thing is a frace from beginning to end
90 Apartments indeed, I have been looking for somewhere reasonably priced to live for my family, with 3 bedroomed houses costing £750 a month, just think of the rental income these 90 apartments could have made, the whole thing is a frace from beginning to end David Hill
  • Score: 0

6:12pm Sun 13 Jan 13

P Little says...

Shops in the Town Centre are also finding it hard. What Kendal Town Centre needs are the anchor stores’ like Debenhams or Primark to entice shoppers into the Town Not to an Out of town area.
Car parking costs in Kendal are high so lets have a level playing field. Out of town shopping centers should have to charge and the money raised could be used to help fund town center projects.
Shops in the Town Centre are also finding it hard. What Kendal Town Centre needs are the anchor stores’ like Debenhams or Primark to entice shoppers into the Town Not to an Out of town area. Car parking costs in Kendal are high so lets have a level playing field. Out of town shopping centers should have to charge and the money raised could be used to help fund town center projects. P Little
  • Score: 0

11:12am Mon 14 Jan 13

onelocal says...

Why are people obsessed with Debenhams? What would Debenhams offer that Beales doesn't?
Problem with K Village is they tried to turn an Outlet Mall into a Shopping Center. It's was the low cost seconds and end of lines that attracted the thousands from all over the north west. Now they have gone elsewhere, and Kendal alone can't support such a place. No top class retailer is going to damage their brand by going into K Village. Lakeland (the kitchen ware company, not the leather and sheepskin store), would have been there a long time ago if it was viable. Unfortunately they have built their image on quality, innovation and service, which doesn't go we'll in an outlet mall.
Why are people obsessed with Debenhams? What would Debenhams offer that Beales doesn't? Problem with K Village is they tried to turn an Outlet Mall into a Shopping Center. It's was the low cost seconds and end of lines that attracted the thousands from all over the north west. Now they have gone elsewhere, and Kendal alone can't support such a place. No top class retailer is going to damage their brand by going into K Village. Lakeland (the kitchen ware company, not the leather and sheepskin store), would have been there a long time ago if it was viable. Unfortunately they have built their image on quality, innovation and service, which doesn't go we'll in an outlet mall. onelocal
  • Score: 0

8:04am Tue 15 Jan 13

life cycle too says...

P Little wrote:
Shops in the Town Centre are also finding it hard. What Kendal Town Centre needs are the anchor stores’ like Debenhams or Primark to entice shoppers into the Town Not to an Out of town area.
Car parking costs in Kendal are high so lets have a level playing field. Out of town shopping centers should have to charge and the money raised could be used to help fund town center projects.
If you charge to park, drivers will invariably drive to somewhere you can park cheaply, or for free.
Barrow is free on Sundays, or you can make a great day out and head to Southport and use Park and Ride - all day for £1.50 with a huge variety of shops.

Lets face it, how many locals were going to visit K Village to shop in Mountain Warehouse, Trespass, and their like? K Village was aimed at potential customers driving to the site from elsewhere - to visit shops found on nearly every high street.

The slightly run down look of the previous outlet worked in it's favour - it LOOKED as if you would find a bargain!
[quote][p][bold]P Little[/bold] wrote: Shops in the Town Centre are also finding it hard. What Kendal Town Centre needs are the anchor stores’ like Debenhams or Primark to entice shoppers into the Town Not to an Out of town area. Car parking costs in Kendal are high so lets have a level playing field. Out of town shopping centers should have to charge and the money raised could be used to help fund town center projects.[/p][/quote]If you charge to park, drivers will invariably drive to somewhere you can park cheaply, or for free. Barrow is free on Sundays, or you can make a great day out and head to Southport and use Park and Ride - all day for £1.50 with a huge variety of shops. Lets face it, how many locals were going to visit K Village to shop in Mountain Warehouse, Trespass, and their like? K Village was aimed at potential customers driving to the site from elsewhere - to visit shops found on nearly every high street. The slightly run down look of the previous outlet worked in it's favour - it LOOKED as if you would find a bargain! life cycle too
  • Score: 0

12:42pm Tue 15 Jan 13

Kendmoor says...

onelocal, I must have missed this, the tagline "outlet" seems to be just another name for "SALE" which you see in all shops everywhere...just a way to entice people in, the price's didn't seem any different to anywhere else; in fact, it was cheaper to get your chocolate from ASDA compared to the cadburys "outlet" store (RIP). Completly agree with some peoples fascination with clothing shops though; baffles me. What would get me shopping there would be shops that we don't have in town, selling goods you can't get in town (or even goods that you can't get on the internet perhaps!). I'd personally like to see a decent music retailer, not HMV obviously, but one that doesn't hike its prices up unlike the one that's in the westmorland shopping centre, with a decent selection of CDs.
onelocal, I must have missed this, the tagline "outlet" seems to be just another name for "SALE" which you see in all shops everywhere...just a way to entice people in, the price's didn't seem any different to anywhere else; in fact, it was cheaper to get your chocolate from ASDA compared to the cadburys "outlet" store (RIP). Completly agree with some peoples fascination with clothing shops though; baffles me. What would get me shopping there would be shops that we don't have in town, selling goods you can't get in town (or even goods that you can't get on the internet perhaps!). I'd personally like to see a decent music retailer, not HMV obviously, but one that doesn't hike its prices up unlike the one that's in the westmorland shopping centre, with a decent selection of CDs. Kendmoor
  • Score: 0

4:31pm Tue 15 Jan 13

snuggle-bunny says...

Geoff103 wrote:
“It is not money the council has lost, it’s simply £100,000 to be paid to us. All of the creditors could lose out, and the council is one of the creditors.”

If it's not paid - and that seems highly unlikely - then it's losy.

If it's lost, then it has to be made up from other sources:

1) reduced spending elsewhere
2) increased council tax
3) council reserves
4) increased parking fees and other revenues
5) reduced councillors' expenses
6) a surcharge on the councillors for malfeasance in office.

Only one of these is likely and only one other would be the correct course of action. Unfortunately, they are not aligned.

No prizes for guessing that No 6 is the least likely yet the most appropriate.
Reduced spending- does that mean the councilors wont be claiming expenses for not doing their job or the top 10% at south lakeland house taking a paycut. I doubt it very much- old boy
[quote][p][bold]Geoff103[/bold] wrote: “It is not money the council has lost, it’s simply £100,000 to be paid to us. All of the creditors could lose out, and the council is one of the creditors.” If it's not paid - and that seems highly unlikely - then it's losy. If it's lost, then it has to be made up from other sources: 1) reduced spending elsewhere 2) increased council tax 3) council reserves 4) increased parking fees and other revenues 5) reduced councillors' expenses 6) a surcharge on the councillors for malfeasance in office. Only one of these is likely and only one other would be the correct course of action. Unfortunately, they are not aligned. No prizes for guessing that No 6 is the least likely yet the most appropriate.[/p][/quote]Reduced spending- does that mean the councilors wont be claiming expenses for not doing their job or the top 10% at south lakeland house taking a paycut. I doubt it very much- old boy snuggle-bunny
  • Score: 0

6:07pm Tue 15 Jan 13

onelocal says...

Kendmoor wrote:
onelocal, I must have missed this, the tagline "outlet" seems to be just another name for "SALE" which you see in all shops everywhere...just a way to entice people in, the price's didn't seem any different to anywhere else; in fact, it was cheaper to get your chocolate from ASDA compared to the cadburys "outlet" store (RIP). Completly agree with some peoples fascination with clothing shops though; baffles me. What would get me shopping there would be shops that we don't have in town, selling goods you can't get in town (or even goods that you can't get on the internet perhaps!). I'd personally like to see a decent music retailer, not HMV obviously, but one that doesn't hike its prices up unlike the one that's in the westmorland shopping centre, with a decent selection of CDs.
An "outlet" mall is, or was a shopping center which consisted of shops where a manufacturer sells direct to the public, eg the Clark's and Denby stores, hence "outlet". In addition they tend to have shops which sell seconds, slightly damaged or returned goods and end of line goods at very low prices. The original meaning may have got distorted over the years
[quote][p][bold]Kendmoor[/bold] wrote: onelocal, I must have missed this, the tagline "outlet" seems to be just another name for "SALE" which you see in all shops everywhere...just a way to entice people in, the price's didn't seem any different to anywhere else; in fact, it was cheaper to get your chocolate from ASDA compared to the cadburys "outlet" store (RIP). Completly agree with some peoples fascination with clothing shops though; baffles me. What would get me shopping there would be shops that we don't have in town, selling goods you can't get in town (or even goods that you can't get on the internet perhaps!). I'd personally like to see a decent music retailer, not HMV obviously, but one that doesn't hike its prices up unlike the one that's in the westmorland shopping centre, with a decent selection of CDs.[/p][/quote]An "outlet" mall is, or was a shopping center which consisted of shops where a manufacturer sells direct to the public, eg the Clark's and Denby stores, hence "outlet". In addition they tend to have shops which sell seconds, slightly damaged or returned goods and end of line goods at very low prices. The original meaning may have got distorted over the years onelocal
  • Score: 0

8:17pm Tue 15 Jan 13

Kendmoor says...

Yep, I know what it is *supposed* to mean.
Yep, I know what it is *supposed* to mean. Kendmoor
  • Score: 0

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