Developer St. Modwen has revealed plans to sell off one of Staffordshire’s biggest visitor attractions.
The company – which is headquartered in Birmingham – wants to find a buyer for the Trentham Estate after 30 years of owning the attraction.
St. Modwen has confirmed that the plans to sell the Stone Road facility form part of its strategy offload up to £200m worth of assets by 2023 – and focus on its logistics and housebuilding divisions.
A spokesman said: “We are proud of the investment and commitment we have made to The Trentham Estate over many years, bringing the gardens back to life and creating a highly popular shopping and leisure destination.
“Over recent years, St. Modwen has focused on the core areas of housebuilding and developing logistics property. This means that, over the coming few years, we plan to sell Trentham to an organisation that can continue to invest in the business and act as custodian to support its ongoing success.”
The Trentham Estate attracts more than 750,000 visitors from across the UK every year.
Run by St. Modwen’s subsidiary business, Trentham Leisure Ltd, it boasts a shopping village, the Italian gardens and lakeside walk and a number of other attractions including Trentham Monkey Forest and Treetop Adventures.
Alastair Budd, senior director at the Trentham Estate, said: “St. Modwen is primarily a re-development and regeneration business and has made significant investment in the site over the last 30 years. In that time it has transformed the business from the old Trentham to what is now, which is a nationally-renowned paid-for garden and shopping village.
“It is a hugely successful site, but now St. Modwen feel that the time is right to bring someone else in who will continue to take it from strength-to-strength.
“The aim is to try and sell the business to someone who specialises in leisure, so visitors won’t see any changes and all of the staff will be transferred to the new owners under TUPE regulations.”
He added: “Nobody needs to worry. Until a new owner is found, St. Modwen will continue to invest in the business because we understand that Trentham is an extremely valuable asset to Staffordshire.
“The Trentham Estate is a great site so it’s important that the we work with our partners to ensure a smooth handover and find someone who is willing to invest and continue the work that has taken place in the last 30 years.”
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The news comes just a week after St Modwen released its annual results which revealed that – for the year ending November 30, 2020 – the company slipped to a pre-tax loss of £139.4m compared to £58.9m profit in 2019, while revenue fell to £342.1m down from £429.9m the previous year.
In the report, the company outlined its intention to increase its focus on the logistics and housebuilding sectors. These sectors currently make up 78 per cent of its total portfolio, but that will increase to over 90 per cent within three years.
This means St. Modwen aims to sell between £180m to £200m of assets by 2023, including all non-core retail and other commercial assets as well as around £80m of surplus residential land.