THE struggling £35 million Heartlands heritage attraction will slash its rent rates by almost a third in order to keep creative companies on the site.
Management at the Pool site told creative businesses which trade from its units that as of April 1 rent would be reduced by 30 per cent to retain the “valued community we have”.
The meeting, held behind closed doors at Heartlands on Friday February 7, unveiled the management team’s new business plan that aims to bring more people to the site amid fears it was turning into a “ghost town”.
Jacky Blakeway, from Magnetic Earth at Heartlands, a crystal, life coaching and holistic therapy business, said: “It’s a positive step forward for Heartlands. There’s a great little community here and good to see the management team recognising that.”
A new car park ticket scheme is also being launched, with £1 vouchers, redeemable at Heartlands, printed with them.
Sean O’Neill, chief operating officer at Heartlands, said: “We are pleased to be offering year-round reduced rents for our ‘creative’ tenants effective from April 1.
“This is in an effort to retain the valued community which we have, and also to attract a greater number of ‘creative’ tenants in the future.
“The reduction in rent is significant at around 30 per cent, so we are optimistic that this will be attractive.
“We will also be adding an offer in the next few weeks to the tickets purchased in the car park.
“The offer allows those who have purchased the ticket a £1 voucher off any purchase made on the day at any outlet on site, including our tenants’ outlets.
“We’re just awaiting the pay and display machines being reprogrammed.
“There are a few other changes in the business plan, such as the opening up of the site to community groups and organisations over the coming year to provide something different for visitors.
“A small catering outlet in the playground will be introduced, following public feedback that the Red River Café was a little far away.”
Mr O’Neill confirmed the management team had looked into whether it could relocate Heartlands’ car park, but it was not feasible to do so.