AN indoor shopping centre is staying open despite the collapse of the firm that ran it.

In Shops, near the top of Chester-le-Street’s Front Street, has been taken on by the building’s owner and it is business as usual for the centre’s 16 traders.

Liverpool-based In Shops, which has centres across the country, is going into liquidation and many of its sites are closing, leaving small traders without a base.

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One of the victims is the centre at Consett but Chester-le-Street, whose building is owned by London-based property investment company Swiftbury, is still operating.

The centre is now being run by chartered surveyors Philip Wragg and Partners.

It has more than 40 units, nearly all of them occupied, and is home to businesses including a newsagent, café, bookshop, tattooist, nail bar, furniture store and mobile phone repairer.

It is being managed by Guy Starling, who was manager of Consett In Shops.

Philip Wragg said In Shops gave the traders a week’s notice but Swiftbury stepped in to keep the centre open.

“The traders were all happy and keen to continue so it is business as normal. After two weeks it is looking positive.

“The traders would have faced the prospect of what happened in Consett, with the market folding and having nowhere to trade from.

“We hope we can try and provide a destination for people. There are quite a few empty shops in Chester-le-Street so it is nice to keep this one open.

“Hopefully it is good for Chester-le-Street to be able to carry on the facility.”

Mr Wragg added that the In Shops name would be replaced in the near future.