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The Harvey Centre in Harlow has been pushed into administration after its owners, Sapphire Retail, failed to restructure its multi-million pound debts.
In a statement, Councillor Andrew Johnson, Leader of Harlow Council, said that the move was disappointing news for the town: "The Council is trying to find out what the Administrator will be seeking to do.
"What we can say is that Harlow has been viewed very positively by potential investors identifying the town as a key place for investment.
"We will continue to work with whomever the new owner of the centre will be to seek to ensure that both the Harvey Centre and the rest of the town centre are regenerated as well as safeguard and promote the interests of Harlow.
"The Council will be watching developments closely in the next few weeks."
Other centres owned by Sapphie were the Queen’s Arcade in Cardiff and Charter Walker in Burnley. At one stage, the trio of centres was valued at more than £300 million, but it is thought the value could now have fallen by half.
Malcolm Shierson from Grant Thornton said: “All three shopping centres will continue to trade normally.
"Although each has generally traded satisfactorily in relation to regional and national trends, valuations for shopping centres generally remain under pressure and Sapphire is no exception to this."