‘We must get people back into the town’

12-199      New manager of Riverside, Hemel Hempstead, David Robinson.
12-199 New manager of Riverside, Hemel Hempstead, David Robinson.

THE new manager of Riverside Shopping Centre has welcomed planned improvements for Hemel Hempstead town centre but says they should include a replacement for the Pavilion.

David Robinson says an entertainment venue is needed to draw in people, while the market needs to be ‘tidied up’ and Marlowes ‘updated’.

Mr Robinson is well-placed to pass judgement, having lived in the town for 14 years and witnessing the opening of Riverside in 2005.

“The town centre needs to be updated,” he said. “The market is on a couple of days. I think it needs to be tidied up a bit. We need to get people back into the town. Driving up footfall is the main challenge.

“I do remember the Pavilion. Sadly it was not replaced. It does need something along those lines where people can go. I think Market Square would be a good site for something.”

Mr Robinson stepped into the post in January, taking over from Johanna Hall, who left under a change of managing agents in November.

He has worked in property management for around 20 years and says he has spent his first month in the job meeting tenants and contractors.

“I was here when the development opened in 2005. I saw it being built. I think it’s a new and vibrant part of town. For me it’s an exciting challenge,” he said.

“Four or five units have been empty since 2005. We would all like to see it fully tenanted, what the answer is I don’t know. We have to keep it clean and safe and hopefully the tenants will come soon.”

Council chiefs intend to update street furniture, improve planters and create a ‘food court’ in Marlowes.