Chelmsford's economy given jobs and investment boost

Chelmsford Weekly News: The takeover by Schroders could spark more investment in Chelmsford city centre The takeover by Schroders could spark more investment in Chelmsford city centre

A CITY centre retail park is set for a major boost following a £20million takeover.

The Meadows Retail Park on Springfield Road is now in the hands of property giant Schroders, who own and manage £10.6billion worth of property across the world.

The good news comes as the Weekly News reveals unemployment in the borough is at its lowest level for six years.

Schroders proudly announced to us how a deal had been achieved earlier this week for the park, built in 1995.

Neil Gulliver, Chelmsford City Council’s cabinet member for economic development, said: “It’s good news when companies, like Schroders, are prepared to invest big.

“It secures existing jobs, too.”

James Lass, Schroder Property Fund Manager, was pleased a deal had been achieved with former owners Orchard Street Investment.

He said: "This deal supports our long standing strategy of buying well located in-town retail parks in key affluent areas with units let off low base rents to retailers who trade well from the location.”

Meadows Retail Park already boasts giant retailers Argos, Yates, Maplin, Blacks and Mothercare, and is well placed to benefit from the city centre’s development plans.

John Lewis is set to open a £15million store on nearby Bond Street next year.

However, Schroders said it was just too early to discuss its plans for the park.

News of the sale comes as figures show about 2,058 people - or 1.9 per cent of those able to work in Chelmsford - are currently claiming job seekers allowance - the lowest rate in six years.

In the last year, more than 1,000 people living in Chelmsford have found work.

Mr Gulliver was pleased, but said focus must now switch to younger people as more than 500 youngsters - 3.9 per cent - were currently out of work.

He said: “We now have to spread the success to everyone and look at how we help those people into their first jobs.”

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