Falkirk shopping centre will close its doors for good

Callendar Square Shopping Centre is believed to be closing down for good next week as town centre bosses revealed they were talking to business tenants today to offer help and support.

By James Trimble
Wednesday, 12th August 2020, 1:34 pm
Updated Saturday, 15th August 2020, 12:46 pm

Falkirk Delivers’ BID manager Elaine Grant stated she would be meeting face to face with the shopkeepers and business owners the closure of the shopping centre would affect.

The BID manager said: “I was contacted by a few business owners yesterday who alerted me to the fact there may be changes ahead. We are looking to have support measures in place for the businesses affected.

“I’m due to meet director Karim Virani tomorrow morning.”

Callendar Square Shopping Centre will be closing down for good next week

Mr Virani, director of Callender Square owners Cygnet Properties and Leisure, told The Falkirk Herald he would make no comment on the matter until he first talked to tenants of the centre face to face.

Falkirk Council leader Cecil Meiklejohn said the news of the impending closure was “another devastating blow for the town”.

Councillor Meiklejohn added: “Since opening, the centre has been a focus of retail, leisure and service provision for the town’s residents and a key asset for the town centre.

“However, it has experienced significant challenges in recent years and the impact of COVID on the retail sector has patently had its effect for the tenants and Cygnet Properties, owners of the centre.

“We have worked closely with the team at Cygnet to consider the means to keep trading, however, the scale of the challenges being faced in the end proved too difficult.

“I wish to express my concern at the news and the impact this will have for the tenants, workforce and regular shoppers to the centre. The council has operated its One Stop Shop service from the centre for many years.

“Due to the effects of COVID-19, this service had to move to online delivery. However, we are looking at options to re-establish this service in the town centre and hope to reach a conclusion on this work soon.

“We are working on our plans for economic recovery at the present time and the interests of the town centre will be paramount in this work. Our town centre partnership will be meeting next week and we hope to bring forward ideas to assist from this meeting.”

Last month Mr Virani said the shopping centre, which had just re-opened at that point, had been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, losing tenants and he revealed some businesses would not pay their rents.

He added: “Even before this, our occupancy had declined. At present, we do not know whether the Council’s One-Stop Shop will be opening, and Xercise4Less is in the same position.”

Mr Virani also admitted he was concerned about the fate of the town centre.

“Callendar Square is struggling because the town centre does not have the footfall to sustain the present scale of retail space. Falkirk Council has been talking about an intervention, placing some kind of new HQ and Arts complex in the town centre for years, and we feel that now is the time for urgent action.

“The High Street needs investment and the people involved need a confidence boost.”