‘No one wants to see the demise of one of the big players’: Castle Quarter’s boss on Chapelfield’s woes

Robert Bradley, Castle Quarter centre manager, pictured before lockdown. Pic: Archant

Robert Bradley, Castle Quarter centre manager, pictured before lockdown. Pic: Archant

There was sadness over the news that Chapelfield shopping centre’s owners had gone into administration - but business owners insisted they will carry on regardless.

Stefan Gurney, of Norwich BID. Pic: Archant

Stefan Gurney, of Norwich BID. Pic: Archant

Robert Bradley, centre manager at Norwich’s other shopping centre, Castle Quarter, said: “This is very sad news indeed and starkly demonstrates the enormous pressures the retail sector is working under.

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Lisa Angel in her shop in Chapelfield. Pic: Archant

Lisa Angel in her shop in Chapelfield. Pic: Archant - Credit: Archant

“Norwich is all the stronger for its excellent mix of retail, from major chains to independent stores, as well as leisure at its shopping centres and in high street locations throughout the city centre. We all offer different experiences but complement each other and, together, we help attract millions of people to our fine city every year, and we shall continue so to do. But no one wants to see the potential demise of one of the big players.”

Intu appointed administrators earlier this week but confirmed they had now gone into administration after talks over lending failed. Its shopping centres can continue trading.

Stefan Gurney, executive director at Norwich BID, Business Improvement District, said the general public wouldn’t notice much difference but that it was difficult for the team involved in running it until a new buyer was found. He said each shopping centre was run as a separate entity meaning a buyer could be found for just Norwich.

“The centre will continue to trade and although it isn’t very nice for the team, I am confident in the right outcome because Norwich is a very good site.”

Chapelfield opened in 2005 and helped put Norwich firmly on the retail map.

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Jenna Crush, retail operations and visual merchandising manager, Lisa Angel, which has a store in Chapelfield, said: “We are monitoring the news as it develops. We are planning to reopen the Lisa Angel store in Chapelfield on Monday, July 6 and we’re really looking forward to seeing our loyal customers once more. We will of course have to wait and see what the outcome is and then make appropriate plans. If Chapelfield remains open whilst its financial matters are worked through, for shop owners it’s likely to be ‘business as usual’ in the short term at least.”

Intu employs about 3,000 staff across the UK, while a further 102,000 work for the shops within its shopping centres.

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It warned on Tuesday that its malls may be forced to shut if it was unable to secure the standstill agreement.

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