Shrewsbury’s shopping centres have lost £11 million in value since being taken over by Shropshire Council.

The authority paid £51 million for the Darwin and Pride Hill Shopping Centres and the lease on the Riverside Shopping Centre in January last year.

Now council leader Peter Nutting has revealed the centres have been valued at £11 million less than purchase price.

But he said he was pleased with how the centres are performing and said it was more about growing the centres for the future prosperity of the town.

He also revealed that refurbishment work on the middle level of the Darwin Shopping Centre will begin this autumn with new flooring lighting and ceiling design, along with the refurbishment of the toilets.

He said: “We knew that the tenancies, income and value would change, but we bought them as an investment to support the economic growth and future vitality of the town centre, as well as provide us with a sustainable year-on-year income stream. This hasn’t changed.

“The outlook in the short-term suggests that income will fall before it rises, but we were prepared for that and we knew it would still be making us money and helping to pay for essential public services across the county.

“Footfall is good and the town centre continues to buck the national trend.

“This is not only great for Shrewsbury, but also for the rest of the county as it encourages tourism and provides jobs.”

Councillor Nutting said the work on the middle level of the Darwin Shopping Centre follows improvements to the upper and lower levels under the previous owner in 2017.

He added: “When we bought the centres, we put aside £4 million from our capital budget to make essential improvements to the Darwin Shopping Centre, particularly the lower and middle levels. It’s part of our business plan.

“We know that making these improvements will create a better environment for shoppers and help us to continue to attract and retain an excellent mix of retail and leisure.”

He said that since buying the centres, the council has been working hard to increase footfall, ensuring that they significantly add to the town’s already popular offer as a destination.

Earlier this year, Councillor Nutting said the Darwin Centre could be kept as a main retail centre long-term, while the Pride Hill Centre could be turned into an area where people could spend a whole night out, including cinema screens and restaurants.