Farewell Westfield, welcome Intu at Merry Hill

Intu takes a slice of Merry Hill in £408m deal

Property group Intu has acquired a 50 per cent interest in the Merry Hill Shopping Centre for more than £400m.

It is part of a £867.8m deal which also includes the takeover of Derby’s Westfield centre and Sprucefield retail park in Northern Ireland.

The shopping centre group is funding the acquisition through new debt facilities totalling £423.8m and a rights issue which is intended to raise gross proceeds of approximately £500m and net proceeds of about £488m.

Merry Hill in Brierley Hill, near Dudley, was developed in the late 1980s. It has 1.4 million sq ft over two retail levels with 214 shop units and a further 300,000 sq ft of other adjacent retail space generating net annual rent of almost £55m.

About 25 million shoppers are attracted to the centre, which is anchored by Marks & Spencer, Debenhams, Bhs, Primark, Sainsbury’s, Next and Asda, each year. The centre currently has an occupancy of about 96 per cent.

Westfield holds its interest in Merry Hill jointly with QIC, which will retain its 50 per cent holding after the acquisition.

Intu will be appointed as asset and development manager for centre and it will be rebranded as intu Merry Hill.

The group agreed to pay £407.7m for the stake in Merry Hill.

Intu chief executive David Fischel said: “The transaction is a rare and attractive opportunity to acquire a further two prime shopping centres in line with our strategy to focus on the UK’s largest and most successful destinations.

“The acquisition strengthens Intu’s position as the leading owner, developer and manager of prime UK shopping centres filling in gaps in our national coverage and extending the footprint of our nationwide consumer facing brand and digital strategy.

“We are delighted to establish a partnership with QIC, a major global investor, at Merry Hill.”

Intu already owns The Potteries centre in Stoke and the Victoria and Broadmarsh centres in Nottingham

The Range to open branch at Merry Hill « Express & Star

The Range to open branch at Merry Hill « Express & Star.

Up to 150 jobs are being created at Merry Hill with the opening of The Range homeware shop. The Range is moving into unit nine and will open on September 20.

Merry Hill

It is now recruiting for 150 part-time and full-time jobs at the store.

The Range sells more than 65,000 value-priced products ranging from homeware, DIY and garden furniture to arts and crafts, sofas, beds and toys.

The new Merry Hill branch will give the chain 77 stores nationwide – it has already opened seven around the country this year.

The chain was founded by former Plymouth market trader Chris Dawson.

He said today: “Brierley Hill is the perfect location for us as a company.”

£10 million Brierley Hill bus improvement scheme…new bus lanes coming on the Boulevard and to Pedmore Road

The March meeting of Brierley Hill Town Centre Partnership heard of the £5 million funding bid towards a £10 million scheme deliver a step-change in bus user experience at Merry Hill Bus Station and on the wider Brierley Hill bus network.

The government has now announced that they have approved the bid as covered in the Express and Star (merry-hill-bus-station-to-get-10m-overhaul/).

It will address congestion that causes unreliability by focusing on pinch points. The key elements of the proposal are:

  • Brand new state of the art bus station, with 25% increase in capacity, full DDA compliance and high quality passenger information and facilities
  • Significant highway measures to remove delays and increase reliability for buses in the Brierley Hill area, including a dedicated bus only link and two bus lanes with bus gates.  The work will include establish bus only lanes on the Boulevard and opening a bus only link from Merry Hill bus station to the Pedmore Road.
  • Segregation of buses from general traffic without loss of highway capacity
  • New bus stop infrastructure and RTI at key locations along strategic routes
  • New commercial multi-operator Smartcard (e-purse and bus)
  • Bespoke marketing and communications campaign
  • Workwise support to help 1,090 people into employment
  • £2.2.m investment in brand new euro 5 buses
  • On Vehicle Displays (Talking Buses) on strategic routes

The bid can be read below:

Brierley Hill Bus Network Transformation BBA Bid Submission

Area Action Plan nearing completion

Brierley Hill Area Action Plan – a key planning document which will guide future developments in the area – is reaching its final run in to adoption following an ‘Examination in Public’ held at Dudley Council House in December.  Planners are now looking to formally adopt the plan this summer.

The proposed plan which will guide the creation of over 10,000 new jobs, a significant expansion of the Merry Hill Centre, the building of over 3,000 new homes in the area, and the introduction of more leisure and community facilities, was subject to questioning by Inspector Vincent Maher during a week of meetings and visits.

Community groups, council officials, traders, environmentalists, developers and landlords all attended the examination.

Overall the process was very positive – not a surprise given the amount of consultation that has taken place over the last decade.

Points of debate centred around how to improve public transport to the town, how to enhance the High Street, the impact of the introduction of car park charging at Merry Hill, how best to protect and enhance wildlife in the area and  the role of manufacturing within the plan.

Mr Maher is now considering his report on whether the plan conforms to national requirements and is realistic in its delivery prospects.  His report should be available at the end of this month, February.

All being well the plan should be ready for adoption this summer and the hard work of implementing it will gain a further boost.

Christmas Recruitment Fair, Merry Hill, Friday 17th September

Do you fancy a job in retail? Are you looking for positions for this coming Christmas?

Don’t miss the Christmas Recruitment Fair on Friday 17 September.

There will be information and advice on the seasonal positions available from our retailers at Merry Hill this Christmas.

Come along to Fountain Square on the Lower Mall near M&S between 9am and 9pm on Friday 17 September to find out more or contact Tina Dalzeel on 07967 999129.

See other current vacancies here


Stourbridge College has proved that it’s cutting edge when it comes to creative industries and its designs on a new campus are on track for success with work about to begin on the Venture Way site.  The £12m investment in a new Centre in the heart of Brierley Hill is all set to contribute to the regeneration of the area and is the first phase in a rolling investment programme by one of the best performing colleges in the region. Continue reading COLLEGE VENTURE TAKES OFF

Higgs and Sons expand in Brierley Hill

A message from Ian Shovlin, Senior Partner at Higgs & Sons

As I am sure you already know, Higgs & Sons has been working for some time to locate and secure new premises to accommodate our continued growth, to better reflect us as a firm, and to improve our service to clients

Continue reading Higgs and Sons expand in Brierley Hill

200 full time jobs; 150 construction jobs; 94 training successes – Merry Hill’s new food court opens

Express and Star coverage of the opening of Eat Central at Merry Hill which brings 200 full time jobs to Brierley Hill with a hospitality academy linking local jobs to local people: