Green light for shop site

AT LEAST one of the business owners who had to sack workers when the Orange Grove designer outlets centre closed in 2004 will return to the soon-to-be-reincarnated shopping destination.

Cleaning contractor Sam Bargashoon, who had to fire 15 staff when the original centre was closed, will hire a new group to work there.

The factory outlets centre was approved at Liverpool Council's last meeting for 2013.

Mr Bargashoon said the original closing made the council look like a joke.

"The shopkeepers were devastated at the time, but hopefully they will come back now," Mr Bargashoon said. "We fought so hard to keep it open at the time and it just didn't make a difference."

The centre was closed after an Independent Commission Against Corruption investigation found that the council should not have approved it at the site, which had an industrial zoning.

Nabil Gazal, the director of Gazcorp, which owns the site, said they couldn't be happier that it was finally approved.

"Now we can start the leasing campaign and bring some great brands back to Liverpool," Mr Gazal said.

He said the centre, which will consist of 65 stores, would reopen in October.

"We have given our current tenants six months' notice and will need three months for construction works after that," he said.

Gazcorp plans to build a new 500-spot car park, upgrade access roads and refit the inside of the centre, which is at present being used for the Liverpool Markets.

Liverpool mayor Ned Mannoun said the centre would provide a boost for the local economy.

"It will be a new shopping destination for the whole region and will bring 400 jobs to the area," Cr Mannoun said.

"One of our goals was to correct some of the wrongs of past councils, and we've done that here."

Cr Tony Hadchiti said the centre would stay this time, because the correct process had been followed for the approval.

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