The new owner of the Castle Place shopping centre in Trowbridge has outlined his plans to help revitalise the town’s local economy and community.

Tahir Ali, 47, from Bradford in West Yorkshire, says the town offers “fantastic potential" for further retail and leisure investment to grow the local economy.

He bought Castle Place for £534,000 in February through Patet Ltd, one of the 14 companies of which he is listed as an active director, and plans to be “flexible and agile” in his bid to revive the centre’s fortunes.   

Mr Ali boasts a track record of redeveloping commercial property in Bradford, Carlisle, Leeds, Scunthorpe, Wakefield, Dunfermline and Kirkcaldy.

 "We have previously brought about positive change to other large retail and shopping centre sites effectively and successfully in Scotland and the North of England.

"We are keen to work alongside our neighbours to deliver something positive that the whole community can benefit from and which should help draw in visitors from the surrounding region.

“At the moment, we are a blank canvas. I have not signed any long leases or sold off any parts of the property, which I have already had interest from other people, developers and stuff.

“Once you start chopping a property up, it is very hard to roll things back and it limits your options really moving forwards."

Mr Ali, whose parents ran a food takeaway business in Bradford when he was young, revealed it was “third time lucky” after Castle Place was sold for £1.2 million prior to an online property auction in May last year.

He finally secured Castle Place on December 13 following a fierce bidding war after the centre had been withdrawn from sale prior to a second auction in September.

The purchase marked his third attempt in six months to acquire the 1.75-acre site and emphasized his determination to secure the much sought-after property.

Wiltshire Times: Tahir Ali, the new owner of Castle Place, outlines his plans to revive the shopping centre’s fortunes. Image: Trevor Porter 76854-2Tahir Ali, the new owner of Castle Place, outlines his plans to revive the shopping centre’s fortunes. Image: Trevor Porter 76854-2 (Image: Trevor Porter)

Mr Ali wants to develop “long-term” partnerships with Wiltshire Council and various stakeholders, including Trowbridge Town Council and Trowbridge Chamber of Commerce, to help revitalise the town’s economy.

He said he is willing to adopt a sympathetic approach to struggling existing tenants, some of whom have not paid their rent for several months, while he tries to attract new retail and leisure businesses to take space.

“I am going to be speaking with commercial property agents Alder King today.  If they come on board, I think we will have a good team there.

“Steve Brickell, director of Brockhurst Property Management in Corsham, is going to be fielding all the local stuff."

Castle Place has four independent traders occupying units in the shopping mall and has a long-running Market Hall occupied by seven tenants.

On the first and second floors, there is a Wiltshire Council-run leisure centre and some office accommodation fronting onto Market Street.

Mr Ali’s strategy to revitalise the 70,469 sq ft shopping centre revolves around offering competitively-priced retail units to both large national chains and small independents.

Mr Ali aims to attract a diverse array of tenants, including leisure, retail and food businesses, as well as independent and creative traders.

With the added benefit of free parking at St Stephen’s Place multi-storey car park at the rear, he believes he can attract some nationally-known companies to take floor space.

He has already drawn up a shopping list of those he wants to talk to and is willing to provide space to local creative arts and crafts businesses for a month in the Market Hall.

He hopes that by turning around the fortunes of Castle Place, the centre will act as a catalyst for broader economic growth and community development in Trowbridge.