WITH plans for a £10million regeneration still up in the air, councillors are calling for action to revive Merrywalks Shopping Centre in Stroud.

In April, Stroud District Council received a letter from Dransfield Properties Ltd about plans for a £10million revamp of Merrywalks, which is currently owned by Streetlands Ltd and has been on the market since last year.

The letter came ahead of a SDC planning committee meeting where a decision was due on an application for an Aldi at Bath Road Trading Estate, with Dransfield saying that the budget supermarket would conflict with any makeover at Merrywalks.

This prompted councillors to defer their decision on Aldi, with a verdict now due next month.

However, almost four months on from that letter, there is still no sign of movement at Merrywalks and during that time another shop, Store Twenty One, has closed there.

When the SNJ contacted Dransfield this week, a spokeswoman said that its plans hinged on Santander bank but would not clarify the situation.

“We have been in discussions with Santander and unfortunately have not been able to progress things at this stage,” she said. “You’ll really need to speak to to the team at Santander about future plans for Merrywalks.”

However, Santander refused to comment specifically on their relationship with Merrywalks, a spokesperson said: “Without commenting on the specifics of this case, this is a matter for our client (the borrower) and is not a decision for us. We remain committed to helping businesses prosper.”

Now, councillors are calling for movement to revive Merrywalks.

SDC leader Cllr Steve Lydon said: “In recent years, we have raised concerns about the centre’s management, its future prospects and the wider implications for Stroud town centre.

“The health and vitality of Merrywalks is critical to the town centre.”

Cllr Lydon said that the Dransfield proposals “represent a real opportunity to transform the centre”, and that from the council’s point of view, Dransfield is the “first and only company with substantial experience in town centre retail property development to have expressed an interest in Merrywalks.”

Stroud town mayor Kevin Cranston said Merrywalks “is ripe for a makeover”.

“Merrywalks has served the town well but is looking a little tired now so is ripe for a makeover,” he said. “The town council would welcome the opportunity to talk to any potential investors to discuss the ideas contained in the Neighbourhood Development Plan.”

Cllr John Bloxsom, town councillor for the central ward, speaking in a personal capacity added: “Merrywalks needs to become a more attractive and welcoming place.

"Its appearance, and what it offers, needs to be improved and a long term investor is needed to achieve this.”

The SNJ spoke to customers at Merrywalks who said big changes are needed.

Habil Zalmy, 28, from Stroud, said: “Obviously a lot of the units are empty and it can be quite quiet.”

Martin Perry, 76, added: “I’m not so sure you can save it, like all things that were here before, it will change with the times.”