A RETAIL park in Bromsgrove was shrouded in mystery this week after two of the three shops on the site were given notice to vacate their premises.
Speculation is growing about the future of the area on Birmingham Road which currently houses the Co-Op, the What! store and the YMCA charity shop.
The What! store, which employs 25 people, will be closing its doors at the end of April.
Deputy manager Nigel Tavener said all the staff were devastated to be going, adding he felt the shop’s closure would be a loss to the town.
He said it was hoped that another premises for a What! store could be found in Bromsgrove and he said he would not hesitate to employ any of the current staff again.
The charity shop, which has three paid staff and between ten and 15 volunteers, will be shutting on April 22.
A spokesperson for the YMCA shop said: “We have just been told we need to be out by April 22 – it was totally unexpected.”
There will, however, be no change at the Co-Op and that will be remaining on the site.
The store’s deputy manager Andrew Simpson said unlike the other two shops on the site, they had received no approach to close and the supermarket had been told it would be fine and the lease would carry on as normal.
The site was acquired by Sainsbury’s which was planning to build a superstore in the town but then it announced in June last year that those plans would no longer be going ahead and a spokesperson for the supermarket giant confirmed to The Standard this week it had sold the land to IM Properties.
The Birmingham-based firm is one of the UK’s largest privately owned property groups and has negotiated developments with several high profile names, including Next and Marks & Spencer – two stores which have been rumoured to have been coming to Bromsgrove before. A spokesperson for IM Properties said they were unable to comment on the site or any development at this time.
And a Bromsgrove District Council spokesperson said: “Whilst no formal application has yet been received, councillors will soon be meeting with the prospective developers for pre-application discussions as part of the normal planning process.”