THE future viability of K Village could be decided by South Lakeland councillors next month.
A survival plan for the Kendal shopping centre is due to be considered by planners after a period of public consultation ended yesterday.
A planning expert employed by administrators of K Village’s owner, Kendal Riverside, warned that the complex was severely hampered by conditions imposed by the authority eight years ago.
K Village is restricted to being a factory outlet, which means it can only sell seconds and discounted end-of-line goods.
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But administrator KPMG wants the condition removed so the centre can attract a wider variety of retail tenants to improve its viability.
Kendal Riverside, which has had problems attracting and retaining tenants at K Village since it opened in 2010, went into administration late in 2012 with debts of £68m.
Steve Renshaw, of Manchester-based How Planning, told SLDC that ‘obligations associated with the original planning permission are no longer viable’.
In a letter to the planning committee, he said: “The proposals for K Village were developed during the mid-2000s, which was a time when the economic outlook in the UK was significantly more bouyant than at present.”
He claimed “the scheme as built out would not be viable under present market conditions”.
He added: “It is therefore entirely appropriate that these obligations are removed to ensure they do not represent a financial burden to any potential purchaser of the site.
“The K Village asset has a materially greater chance of being transferred from the administrators to a viable long-term investor if these obligations are removed.
“The removal of the obligations essentially reduces the liabilities associated with the site, making it a more attractive proposition for the purchaser.”
SLDC’s planning committee, which is expected to vote on the survival plan at its September meeting, is also being asked to relieve K Village of its commitment to pay for a bus service to and from the centre and off-site coach parking facilities to help ease its financial position.
Apartments above the retail complex, which include a proportion of affordable homes, are not affected by the application.