Survival plan for K Village

The Westmorland Gazette: K Village K Village

A SURVIVAL plan for K Village has been launched almost a year after its owners went into administration with debts of £68 million.

Empty units in the £100m cen-tre could now be filled with new retailers – but only if council planners back the scheme.

The centre, which is home to 17 businesses, is currently rest-ricted to being a ‘factory outlet only’ selling seconds and discounted ‘end of line’ goods.

But administrators now want the rule lifting in a strategy which has been welcomed by some business leaders.

Anchor store Clarks and Costa Ltd are in favour – though small traders and the Federation of Small Business have mixed feelings.

South Lakeland District Council planners also have to be convinced it would not harm Kendal’s high street.

The move to ‘reinvigorate’ the three year-old centre comes after hopes of creating 300 jobs and attracting 4,000 coach parties a year were hit by the recession and consumer spending slump.

Now its asset managers, the London-based firm Global Mutual Properties Limited, want to ‘fulfill its ambition.’

The turnaround specialists, who are acting for Belfast-based KPMG, have transformed shopping centres nationwide.

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KPMG were appointed administrators after Kendal Riverside Ltd went into administration in December 2012.

John Hansen, of KPMG, said: “We are taking every step we can to preserve and enhance the value of K Village as an asset. It is important to Kendal and still trading. We are doing everything we can and are now trying certain things strategically.”

Clarks says it plans to remain part of the centre.

And Derek Armstrong, of Cumbria Chamber of Commerce, said: “Everyone agrees something needs to happen – the current offer is not working for K Village or the town. We need to enhance the offer by lifting restrictions.”

But one development expert, who declined to be named, suggested that SLDC might ask for a full planning application if the proposed changes were so different to those approved in 2006.

“K Village was meant to be complementary to, not in competition with, what Kendal town centre already offers,” he explained.

“SLDC may consider that this change is spreading what jam there is a little too thin.”

Speculation is circulating that stores like Primark, not currently in Kendal, could be eyeing occupation, although the firm declined to comment.

Manchester-based planning agents How Planning LLP rep-resent Global Mutual Properties and have asked SLDC to remove one planning condition and amend two others.

They want it to become a ‘non-food retail shopping facility’ with shops like those found in other centres.  The Westmorland Shopping Centre declined to offer a view.

Steve Renshaw, for How Planning said: “The proposed minor relaxation of the goods that can be sold would enable more floorspace to be let, more jobs to be created and the re-invigoration of a facility that has the potential to bring more shoppers to Kendal.

“The development opened during 2010 and has not been as successful as originally hoped in attracting tenants due in part to the combined effect of the recession on consumer spending and the strict conditions applied to the retail floorspace.”

He said it would not ‘result in any significant adverse impact’ on the town centre.

SLDC has the authority to lift the conditions but it would be at least eight weeks before any proposal goes before councillors.

However, Coun Peter Thornton, leader of SLDC, said: “The job of agents is to maximise the centre’s options while the job of the council’s planning department is to look at it from the point of view of the economic health of the whole town. It is clear that the agents would rather sell it as a going concern than a closed one.”

Richard Greenwood, of Cumbria Tourism, said: “We do need to look very carefully at alternative uses for the shop units at the site but we should be aware of the impact that may have on Kendal town centre too.”

Paul Foster, of the Federation of Small Businesses, which has 800 members in South Lakeland, said: “The initial conditions were correct. While no-one wants to see empty units, there is no guarantee of what it might end up with.”

Jeff Waites, of Carlsons Fishing Tackle, in Kirkland, said: “There isn’t money to go round for all the shops in Kendal as it is. Creating more when there aren’t sufficient shoppers is the problem.”

Adrian Norris, of Kirkland News, said: “It’s a difficult one, you want more people in this part of town and everyone’s thought that was what K Village was going to do. But if you bring in direct competition it can take business away. I’d love it to have shops bringing people in, but not if it drags people out of the town.”

Geoff Hool, of Maelstrom, added: “Kendal needs lots of choice and excitement or it will die. The more the merrier, we need to grow and prosper.”

 

Comments (16)

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9:38am Thu 5 Dec 13

Kendmoor says...

Do the current restrictions stop local independent shops whipping up spots?
Would be fantastic to see it filled with a complete mixture of weird and quirky local shops - I suppose it's a bit of a catch 22 though as anyone local probably wouldn't want to take the risk on it knowing there just isn't the footfall or interest in it.

Guess we're going to be stuck with clothing and home stores for the minute. Still, it's not like you can buy any of that anywhere else locally can you...exciting.
Do the current restrictions stop local independent shops whipping up spots? Would be fantastic to see it filled with a complete mixture of weird and quirky local shops - I suppose it's a bit of a catch 22 though as anyone local probably wouldn't want to take the risk on it knowing there just isn't the footfall or interest in it. Guess we're going to be stuck with clothing and home stores for the minute. Still, it's not like you can buy any of that anywhere else locally can you...exciting. Kendmoor

10:20am Thu 5 Dec 13

Spies says...

I walked through K Village the other day, its such a sad depressing place, nearly half the units are empty and the shops that were open had no customers in them. I'm amazed there's anyone left there to be quite honest.
I walked through K Village the other day, its such a sad depressing place, nearly half the units are empty and the shops that were open had no customers in them. I'm amazed there's anyone left there to be quite honest. Spies

11:13am Thu 5 Dec 13

onelocal says...

No mention of the apartments. Have they been put on the market/occupied?
No mention of the apartments. Have they been put on the market/occupied? onelocal

11:39am Thu 5 Dec 13

TwoHat says...

Convert the lot to housing, instead of building new houses on greenfield sites - or bulldoze it and make it a free parking area like New Road.
Convert the lot to housing, instead of building new houses on greenfield sites - or bulldoze it and make it a free parking area like New Road. TwoHat

1:25pm Thu 5 Dec 13

hogheaven says...

Of course you could fill it full of charity shops and let the apartments out for affordable housing
Of course you could fill it full of charity shops and let the apartments out for affordable housing hogheaven

2:21pm Thu 5 Dec 13

Guanajuato says...

Considering the debt Kendal Riverside had, it looks like the debt of all the other companies was loaded onto Kendal Riverside, pushing it into administration. Maybe not illegal, but certainly stinks.
Considering the debt Kendal Riverside had, it looks like the debt of all the other companies was loaded onto Kendal Riverside, pushing it into administration. Maybe not illegal, but certainly stinks. Guanajuato

8:51pm Thu 5 Dec 13

shirtbox2003 says...

first thing is put revolving doors or something to stop the terrible wind that howls through.then let sainsburys,tesco or waitrose take a unit.followed by Matalan,or primark.then reduce by half the price of the appartments to make them affordable thus creating an onsite customer base.have you noticed how all the experts like how planning llp dive in to give opinions at great cost to help milk assets just like liquidators do when clown hall massive **** ups happen.this k centre could finish up like the monumental fiasco at the berners swimming pool and get demolished.
first thing is put revolving doors or something to stop the terrible wind that howls through.then let sainsburys,tesco or waitrose take a unit.followed by Matalan,or primark.then reduce by half the price of the appartments to make them affordable thus creating an onsite customer base.have you noticed how all the experts like how planning llp dive in to give opinions at great cost to help milk assets just like liquidators do when clown hall massive **** ups happen.this k centre could finish up like the monumental fiasco at the berners swimming pool and get demolished. shirtbox2003

10:05pm Thu 5 Dec 13

David Hill says...

shirtbox2003 wrote:
first thing is put revolving doors or something to stop the terrible wind that howls through.then let sainsburys,tesco or waitrose take a unit.followed by Matalan,or primark.then reduce by half the price of the appartments to make them affordable thus creating an onsite customer base.have you noticed how all the experts like how planning llp dive in to give opinions at great cost to help milk assets just like liquidators do when clown hall massive **** ups happen.this k centre could finish up like the monumental fiasco at the berners swimming pool and get demolished.
I agree with this, every other indoor shopping centre has doors that close, it is a barren desolate place, it would also benefit hugely from a Primark, which would bring in people from all over Cumbria, benefiting all the other business with a big increase in footfall.

Why can't all the apartments be put up for rental? there is a desperate shortage of rental property in the area and each one could easily bring in £600/month, multiply that by the 90 apartments and that's £54k a month in rent or £648,000 a year.

Planning restrictions should be lifted, parking should be free, the above implemented and the site would prosper, its not rocket science.
[quote][p][bold]shirtbox2003[/bold] wrote: first thing is put revolving doors or something to stop the terrible wind that howls through.then let sainsburys,tesco or waitrose take a unit.followed by Matalan,or primark.then reduce by half the price of the appartments to make them affordable thus creating an onsite customer base.have you noticed how all the experts like how planning llp dive in to give opinions at great cost to help milk assets just like liquidators do when clown hall massive **** ups happen.this k centre could finish up like the monumental fiasco at the berners swimming pool and get demolished.[/p][/quote]I agree with this, every other indoor shopping centre has doors that close, it is a barren desolate place, it would also benefit hugely from a Primark, which would bring in people from all over Cumbria, benefiting all the other business with a big increase in footfall. Why can't all the apartments be put up for rental? there is a desperate shortage of rental property in the area and each one could easily bring in £600/month, multiply that by the 90 apartments and that's £54k a month in rent or £648,000 a year. Planning restrictions should be lifted, parking should be free, the above implemented and the site would prosper, its not rocket science. David Hill

2:49pm Fri 6 Dec 13

emmielou says...

Apparently the apartments cannot be sold as they do not meet building regs. The building is apparently also subsiding due to the lower level carpark constantly flooding...as was said it would during the original planning process when the devlopers were informed by the public that the River Kent has a shale bed. I honestly cant see many bigger outlets wanting to move in, all they have to do is look at the statistics of lack of people visiting the centre and how many shops have closed their doors since it opened. Who in their right mind would want to move in to a place spending thousands of pounds setting up when visitors are few and far between? It should never have been built, the old one had character and people visiting every day all day but to be brutally honest the Factory Outlet parks were on the decline even then. South Lakeland District councillors saw £million signs and looked at it with rose coloured glasses. Ridiculous!

When the developers finally got planning permmission for K Village as it is now, it was agreed by that planning commitee that it could not be used later down the line as a retail park as it would impact adversely on the town centre. The situation has not changed, in fact the retailers in the town centre are struggling even more now due to online shopping, the recession and ridiculous parking charges. Knock the damned thing down and have proper affordable housing there for locals only, combined with an indoor all weather facility for the young people (and not so young) such as all weather skate park, bowling alley and a cinema.
Apparently the apartments cannot be sold as they do not meet building regs. The building is apparently also subsiding due to the lower level carpark constantly flooding...as was said it would during the original planning process when the devlopers were informed by the public that the River Kent has a shale bed. I honestly cant see many bigger outlets wanting to move in, all they have to do is look at the statistics of lack of people visiting the centre and how many shops have closed their doors since it opened. Who in their right mind would want to move in to a place spending thousands of pounds setting up when visitors are few and far between? It should never have been built, the old one had character and people visiting every day all day but to be brutally honest the Factory Outlet parks were on the decline even then. South Lakeland District councillors saw £million signs and looked at it with rose coloured glasses. Ridiculous! When the developers finally got planning permmission for K Village as it is now, it was agreed by that planning commitee that it could not be used later down the line as a retail park as it would impact adversely on the town centre. The situation has not changed, in fact the retailers in the town centre are struggling even more now due to online shopping, the recession and ridiculous parking charges. Knock the damned thing down and have proper affordable housing there for locals only, combined with an indoor all weather facility for the young people (and not so young) such as all weather skate park, bowling alley and a cinema. emmielou

5:30pm Fri 6 Dec 13

laker1 says...

Perhaps before too long it will sink without trace - lets hope that the idiots of SLDC who sanctioned this monstrosity are inside when it happens
Perhaps before too long it will sink without trace - lets hope that the idiots of SLDC who sanctioned this monstrosity are inside when it happens laker1

5:47pm Fri 6 Dec 13

hogheaven says...

emmielou wrote:
Apparently the apartments cannot be sold as they do not meet building regs. The building is apparently also subsiding due to the lower level carpark constantly flooding...as was said it would during the original planning process when the devlopers were informed by the public that the River Kent has a shale bed. I honestly cant see many bigger outlets wanting to move in, all they have to do is look at the statistics of lack of people visiting the centre and how many shops have closed their doors since it opened. Who in their right mind would want to move in to a place spending thousands of pounds setting up when visitors are few and far between? It should never have been built, the old one had character and people visiting every day all day but to be brutally honest the Factory Outlet parks were on the decline even then. South Lakeland District councillors saw £million signs and looked at it with rose coloured glasses. Ridiculous!

When the developers finally got planning permmission for K Village as it is now, it was agreed by that planning commitee that it could not be used later down the line as a retail park as it would impact adversely on the town centre. The situation has not changed, in fact the retailers in the town centre are struggling even more now due to online shopping, the recession and ridiculous parking charges. Knock the damned thing down and have proper affordable housing there for locals only, combined with an indoor all weather facility for the young people (and not so young) such as all weather skate park, bowling alley and a cinema.
How can the apartments not meet building regs it beggars belief , what were the SLDC playing at. I think the time has come to pass the running of the council to a private company with suitable professional people capable of making sound economic decisions .What next?????????
[quote][p][bold]emmielou[/bold] wrote: Apparently the apartments cannot be sold as they do not meet building regs. The building is apparently also subsiding due to the lower level carpark constantly flooding...as was said it would during the original planning process when the devlopers were informed by the public that the River Kent has a shale bed. I honestly cant see many bigger outlets wanting to move in, all they have to do is look at the statistics of lack of people visiting the centre and how many shops have closed their doors since it opened. Who in their right mind would want to move in to a place spending thousands of pounds setting up when visitors are few and far between? It should never have been built, the old one had character and people visiting every day all day but to be brutally honest the Factory Outlet parks were on the decline even then. South Lakeland District councillors saw £million signs and looked at it with rose coloured glasses. Ridiculous! When the developers finally got planning permmission for K Village as it is now, it was agreed by that planning commitee that it could not be used later down the line as a retail park as it would impact adversely on the town centre. The situation has not changed, in fact the retailers in the town centre are struggling even more now due to online shopping, the recession and ridiculous parking charges. Knock the damned thing down and have proper affordable housing there for locals only, combined with an indoor all weather facility for the young people (and not so young) such as all weather skate park, bowling alley and a cinema.[/p][/quote]How can the apartments not meet building regs it beggars belief , what were the SLDC playing at. I think the time has come to pass the running of the council to a private company with suitable professional people capable of making sound economic decisions .What next????????? hogheaven

7:00pm Fri 6 Dec 13

onelocal says...

hogheaven wrote:
emmielou wrote:
Apparently the apartments cannot be sold as they do not meet building regs. The building is apparently also subsiding due to the lower level carpark constantly flooding...as was said it would during the original planning process when the devlopers were informed by the public that the River Kent has a shale bed. I honestly cant see many bigger outlets wanting to move in, all they have to do is look at the statistics of lack of people visiting the centre and how many shops have closed their doors since it opened. Who in their right mind would want to move in to a place spending thousands of pounds setting up when visitors are few and far between? It should never have been built, the old one had character and people visiting every day all day but to be brutally honest the Factory Outlet parks were on the decline even then. South Lakeland District councillors saw £million signs and looked at it with rose coloured glasses. Ridiculous!

When the developers finally got planning permmission for K Village as it is now, it was agreed by that planning commitee that it could not be used later down the line as a retail park as it would impact adversely on the town centre. The situation has not changed, in fact the retailers in the town centre are struggling even more now due to online shopping, the recession and ridiculous parking charges. Knock the damned thing down and have proper affordable housing there for locals only, combined with an indoor all weather facility for the young people (and not so young) such as all weather skate park, bowling alley and a cinema.
How can the apartments not meet building regs it beggars belief , what were the SLDC playing at. I think the time has come to pass the running of the council to a private company with suitable professional people capable of making sound economic decisions .What next?????????
Why would it beggar belief? Sounds like par for the course. At least it's lasted longer than Berners Pool in Grange, which only lasted 3 years before structural problems and running costs shut it down. If SLDC ever get approval to redevelop Ferry Nab, with an Outdoor Retail store, that will probably go the same way.
[quote][p][bold]hogheaven[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]emmielou[/bold] wrote: Apparently the apartments cannot be sold as they do not meet building regs. The building is apparently also subsiding due to the lower level carpark constantly flooding...as was said it would during the original planning process when the devlopers were informed by the public that the River Kent has a shale bed. I honestly cant see many bigger outlets wanting to move in, all they have to do is look at the statistics of lack of people visiting the centre and how many shops have closed their doors since it opened. Who in their right mind would want to move in to a place spending thousands of pounds setting up when visitors are few and far between? It should never have been built, the old one had character and people visiting every day all day but to be brutally honest the Factory Outlet parks were on the decline even then. South Lakeland District councillors saw £million signs and looked at it with rose coloured glasses. Ridiculous! When the developers finally got planning permmission for K Village as it is now, it was agreed by that planning commitee that it could not be used later down the line as a retail park as it would impact adversely on the town centre. The situation has not changed, in fact the retailers in the town centre are struggling even more now due to online shopping, the recession and ridiculous parking charges. Knock the damned thing down and have proper affordable housing there for locals only, combined with an indoor all weather facility for the young people (and not so young) such as all weather skate park, bowling alley and a cinema.[/p][/quote]How can the apartments not meet building regs it beggars belief , what were the SLDC playing at. I think the time has come to pass the running of the council to a private company with suitable professional people capable of making sound economic decisions .What next?????????[/p][/quote]Why would it beggar belief? Sounds like par for the course. At least it's lasted longer than Berners Pool in Grange, which only lasted 3 years before structural problems and running costs shut it down. If SLDC ever get approval to redevelop Ferry Nab, with an Outdoor Retail store, that will probably go the same way. onelocal

12:51am Sun 8 Dec 13

life cycle too says...

The problem with SLDC is that they are commercially inept, and have no idea how to run a business, and no idea how to encourage those that could organise these large scale projects to get involved.

The few members that DO have some ability are stifled by the majority with their pie in the sky approach!
The problem with SLDC is that they are commercially inept, and have no idea how to run a business, and no idea how to encourage those that could organise these large scale projects to get involved. The few members that DO have some ability are stifled by the majority with their pie in the sky approach! life cycle too

4:35pm Tue 10 Dec 13

jazzactivist says...

I've never been in there, as that type of cut-price, mainstream shopping doesn't interest me, but I think the whole thing was a con and it was designed not to do well. Someone has benefited from allowing it to be built, and now someone is benefiting from allowing it to stand half empty, and someone will benefit from whatever happens to it in the end - but it won't be the residents of Kendal. This sort of development / non-development is happening all over the country and appears to be a money laundering exercise for the landowners. The idea for K Village was sold to the public on the promise that it would house a big museum about Kendal's shoe making history, but that just ended up being shoved into a back room. The best thing would be to turn the whole building into affordable housing, which is desperately needed, whereas more shops definitely aren't. Let's not allow anymore cheap shops into Kendal, such as Primark and Aldi, as they are affecting the feel of the whole town. If people want to shop in those shops they can easily go to Lancaster or Preston.
I've never been in there, as that type of cut-price, mainstream shopping doesn't interest me, but I think the whole thing was a con and it was designed not to do well. Someone has benefited from allowing it to be built, and now someone is benefiting from allowing it to stand half empty, and someone will benefit from whatever happens to it in the end - but it won't be the residents of Kendal. This sort of development / non-development is happening all over the country and appears to be a money laundering exercise for the landowners. The idea for K Village was sold to the public on the promise that it would house a big museum about Kendal's shoe making history, but that just ended up being shoved into a back room. The best thing would be to turn the whole building into affordable housing, which is desperately needed, whereas more shops definitely aren't. Let's not allow anymore cheap shops into Kendal, such as Primark and Aldi, as they are affecting the feel of the whole town. If people want to shop in those shops they can easily go to Lancaster or Preston. jazzactivist

10:34am Thu 12 Dec 13

life cycle too says...

Actually JA if they want to shop in Aldi, they can shop in Kendal - their Kendal branch has been located for a number of years across the road from Morrisons!!
They stock locally produced food items as well as products that would not otherwise be affordable to families on low incomes struggling to purchase homes in the area!!
Primark too would help those of limited means, and encourage shoppers to travel into Kendal and shop, rather than head for Lancaster and spend their money there!
There are very few shoppers that would travel mile to shop in just one store, so the other traders would benefit too.
Actually JA if they want to shop in Aldi, they can shop in Kendal - their Kendal branch has been located for a number of years across the road from Morrisons!! They stock locally produced food items as well as products that would not otherwise be affordable to families on low incomes struggling to purchase homes in the area!! Primark too would help those of limited means, and encourage shoppers to travel into Kendal and shop, rather than head for Lancaster and spend their money there! There are very few shoppers that would travel mile to shop in just one store, so the other traders would benefit too. life cycle too

7:50pm Sun 15 Dec 13

Grumpyoldbiker says...

Let ALDI move in. That will bring the shoppers back to the town centre.
Let ALDI move in. That will bring the shoppers back to the town centre. Grumpyoldbiker

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