Abandoned shopping village appears in 2015 BBC Three game show
Eerie photos of an abandoned shopping centre show how the once thriving outlet for designer clothes now looks like a ghost town. When it opened in 1996, Five Sisters Freeport Shopping Village had more than 40 stores with brands on offer including Versace, DKNY, Calvin Klein, Rockport and Levi’s.
It also had a Leisureland facility, with soft play, go karts, and other activities for children.
But now the windows are boarded up, and metal barriers prevent people from getting too close to the buildings on the 50,000 square foot site near West Calder, Scotland.
The shopping centre had a million visitors in its first year and had grand expansion plans, including building a snow centre and a golf course.
The snow centre would have featured slopes for skiing and snowboarding, toboggan runs, and a children’s winter wonderland.
But the £18m upgrade never materialised as the Freeport was badly affected in 2000 when the Livingston Designer Outlet opened its doors just a short drive away.
Customers began to stop visiting the centre near West Calder, and the businesses moved their stores to the new outlet centre in Livingston.
Within a year most of the shops had shut and others were running sales in preparation to leave.
By 2004, Freeport Leisure decided it was time to close the centre down.
The site has been abandoned ever since, with the BBC using it for filming on a children’s zombie show in 2015.
Edinburgh Live reports that Freeport’s chairman, Sean Collidge, admitted at the time that the Livingston outlet opening nearby was their downfall.
He said: “This scheme was 100 percent let when it opened in 1996 and had four tremendous years. Then retail in Scotland became overpopulated in the central belt”
West Lothian Council has rejected plans to create housing in the area but says they want to see it redeveloped.
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A spokesperson said: “The re-development, or re-use, of Westwood (Freeport), near West Calder, previously operating as a factory outlet centre, is supported by the council.
“Leisure and tourist uses, specialised employment, starter units (Class 4), or institutional uses appropriate to a rural location will be supported.
“Some element of new or extended building outwith the development envelope on site and/or housing (very low density and a maximum of 30 houses meriting a rural location, all confined to the development envelope) will be considered, where this is shown to be necessary in terms of the financial viability of an appropriate scheme.”
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