A SHOPPING centre going into receivership could be a good thing for Dartford, according to the council leader.

The Priory Shopping Centre in Lowfield Street went into receivership last month and Jones Lang LaSalle was appointed to take over the centre to try and sort out its finances and find a new owner.

Dartford Council leader Jeremy Kite said: "It's important we realise this is about the shopping centre building rather than the shops themselves, they are quite disconnected.

"It's not unusual for shopping centres to change hands.

"This is not the death of the Priory Centre.

"It could be a good thing if a new company with more money can be found to breathe new life into the centre.

"It's no secret this is a tough time for retail but with the future investment of Tesco and a new business going into the Waitrose unit things are looking up for Dartford."

Mr Kite revealed an announcement on what company would be taking over the Waitrose site was 'imminent' and hoped it would be a food store.

Hoarding has also gone up in Lowfield Street where work will soon start demolishing the former shop units to make way for Tesco which will open in 2015.

MP Gareth Johnson, agreed with Mr Kite, and said: "I understand that this has happened a number of times to the Priory Centre and as before it should continue to be business as usual.

People won't see any immediate change to their shopping experience, in fact in the longer term this could lead to enhancements at the centre."

Jo James, chief executive for Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce, added: "Everyone knows this is a very tough time for retail trading.

"Hopefully with a new owner for the centre it will make a difference."

Jemma McAndrew, director and one of the appointed receivers at Jones Lang LaSalle, added: "For many of the retailers within the centre Christmas trading has been positive and it is very much business as usual for the Priory Centre."