COUNCILLOR Marc Brunel-Walker has praised the success of the privately-owned town centre on the first anniversary of its' launch.

Cllr Brunel-Walker spoke at The Lexicon on Friday September 7, the first anniversary of the town centre opening.

The shopping centre, which cost £250m, has seen 16 million customers pass through the town in the past 12 months following the opening, which saw a dramatic regeneration complete after years of building works.

Cllr Marc Brunel-Walker, executive member for economic development and regeneration, said: “It’s been an extraordinary first year for The Lexicon and I’m so proud of how it has become the social and cultural heart of our community. To attract 16 million people in year one demonstrates just how well received it’s been by our residents and visitors and I’m so pleased that it continues to be as popular today as it was in its opening week.

"The best part about it for me has been giving the town centre its' heart back. We can see that with the events that we've put on in the town, we've had the Proms, we've had the big screen coming in for the Royal Wedding and the football (England vs Croatia in the World Cup), that people want to come back to the town now, and not just for the shopping."

Rob Morris, general manager at The Lexicon, explained that the first year of the town has been a success, as well as the challenges.

He said: "There have been a lot of difficult moments, first of all in the first few weeks since we were open we had astronomic levels, so everyone was more busy than expected, and we had to make sure the centre was clean and safe, the car parks opened as intended etc. We were delighted to manage that with a high volume of people.

“We are delighted with everyone’s support for and reaction to the new town centre. The positive, lively and friendly atmosphere created on opening day is still prevalent today.

”With easy access, plenty of parking, a vibrant mix of retail, dining and leisure, we will continue to do all we can to encourage even more residents to choose The Lexicon as their town centre of choice.”