my first thought indeed…
the fact the retail unit N07 The Row / Urbane has sat empty for soooo long makes me think the rent aspiration is too high
Clearly the whole of the COOP as an empty retail space will potentially sit empty for a long time
All the reasons the planning consultant cites for relocation of COOP are reasons why the existing retail unit will not be easy to let, particularly if the rental aspirations are unrealistic.
Perhaps sub division into very small starter retail units, like a covered market, a latter day Wirral Horn Arcade could be made to work?
After all Wirral Horn Arcade was formerly Kingway Garage
As for a ‘town square’ the blocker to that is the existing residential
Do we know what the status of the first floor flats are?
Are these Leasehold? and if so how long are the leases?
Here is picture of the site of the Blue Anchor from across the road from 1950