X Factor’s Che Chesterman to reopen Waverley Mall

Che Chesterman will be at the Waverley Mall reopening. Picture: comp
Che Chesterman will be at the Waverley Mall reopening. Picture: comp
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X FACTOR finalist Che Chesterman will be among a line-up of entertainers at the official opening of the refurbished Waverley Mall.

The singer, who was mentored by radio personality Nick Grimshaw in the television show, will be joined by Britain’s Got Talent star Lisa Sampson and Edinburgh indie four-piece Indigo Velvet at the relaunch tomorrow.

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The shopping centre – formally known as Princes Mall – has undergone a £4 million transformation after bosses decided it was being overlooked by the millions of travellers passing its doorstep from Waverley station.

Mall chiefs said the centre’s position below street level meant travellers were often oblivious to its presence, adding that the rebranding was aimed at highlighting links with the station.

Plans were devised to bring the train station “into” the shopping venue in a bid to boost its profile and also capitalise on the imminent closure of the St James Centre.

Tomorrow, the grand opening will allow the public a chance to share in the management’s excitement surrounding the changes, which were first proposed last summer.

Plans included installing arrival and departure screens alongside ticketing machines in the centre’s food court, in a bid to encourage passengers to shop by providing them with direct access to travel times and ticket information.

Aisles have also been widened and ceilings restructured.

Graham Birse, director of the Edinburgh Institute, said such changes will help to secure Edinburgh’s place as a retail destination.

He said: “Good on them. Retail is a very difficult sector with huge pressures on it, such as the internet.

“Along with the St James Centre development, Edinburgh will move back into the top ten retail centres in the UK.

“It’s been in the top 20 for too long and it needs to be in the top ten.

“I think we are seeing an upward curve right now.”

Lord Provost Donald Wilson will open the centre after giving a speech on Waverley Bridge.

Hundreds of branded goody bags will be given out to shoppers.

Princes Mall was opened by the Queen in July 1985 and quickly established itself as a popular shopping destination.

But its fortunes waned amid a perception it was focused on the youth and fast food sectors. Now, with footfall growing 20 per cent year on year, bosses want to widen its appeal.

Martin Botha, centre manager, said: “Historically, our footfall print is more from the younger market and what we’re looking to do is create a modern, contemporary setting where families can enjoy a great shopping experience.”

Tomorrow’s event runs from 10am to 4pm.

newsen@edinburghnews.com