National award nomination for centre manager

Tue 19th April 2016

The manager of White River Place Shopping Centre in St Austell has been nominated for a major national award in recognition of his tireless work to support the town.   

Richard Hurst is one of just six small centre managers to be shortlisted in the Sceptre Awards 2016, the leading accolades for the shopping centre industry. Richard will attend the awards on June 21st when a glittering ceremony will be held at The Dorchester Hotel in London to announce the winners.   

Richard Hurst, Manager of White River Place, said: “I am truly surprised to be nominated for such a prestigious national award and feel very humbled. I am passionate about working to make St Austell a thriving town centre for the people living here to be proud of, and it’s fantastic to see the work we are doing already having a positive impact.”   

The Sceptre Awards recognise best practice in the shopping centre industry, shining a spotlight on the people delivering real excellence. Richard is shortlisted for the award of Small Centre Manager of the Year, one of a number of awards being made to those working in shopping centres all over the UK.   

Richard Hurst joined White River Place in January 2014, after spending more than 20 years working in the retail and customer service sectors nationwide. 

As well as working closely with centre owners Ellandi to develop the retail, food and leisure offer at White River Place, Richard’s focus in the last two years has been on increasing the centre’s involvement in community events and town-wide initiatives.   

Under his leadership, White River Place has seen centre footfall increase by 9.2 per cent – and by 4 per cent in last 12 months, bucking both regional and national trends.   

Centre revenues have increased by 13 per cent, car park usage is up by 11 per cent, and three new tenants for the centre were secured in the last year – including popular clothing retailer Peacocks – taking the centre to 85 per cent occupancy, the highest since it opened.   

Richard has also supported centre retailers and transformed White River Place’s community engagement, becoming a director of St Austell’s BID (Business Improvement District) and leading work on town-wide improvement projects.   

Thanks to his efforts, St Austell enjoyed the best ever attended Christmas lights switch on at the end of last year, and White River Place has led positive community projects, including donating empty shop units for charitable groups to use – such as the Royal British Legion for Poppy Appeal sales, and Cornwall College St Austell for student art exhibitions. Richard organised a shop unit for local school Carclaze Primary so students could sell books they had made, and has helped to raise thousands of pounds for vital Cornish charities.   

 Many of the community organisations which Richard has supported wrote glowing testimonials to support his award nomination.   

Annette Miller, Manager of St Austell BID, said: “Since Richard has been in St Austell, the town has pulled together as one – sometimes a difficult thing to achieve but thanks to the working relationship we have built up through Richard, with trust and team work, no challenge has been insurmountable.”   

Jenny Wood, Year 4 teacher at Carclaze Primary, said: “Richard was a fabulous help to us and is very deserving of an award. Richard believes in creating community events and helping one another, and Richard helped us above and beyond our expectations. Richard has a clear vision for White River Place - but he also has the determination and personality to deliver it.”   

Karl Owen, Team Lead for Art and Design at Cornwall College, St Austell, said: “Richard has played a very important role in raising the profile of the arts in St Austell over the last two years. Without people like Richard working so hard for the town, St Austell would decline as a place to live and work.”   

St Austell Town Council Cllr Sandra Heywood said: “Richard works tirelessly and with commitment and the whole town is benefiting from his friendly, inclusive approach. Richard is helping to make the shopping experience in St Austell a safe and positive experience for everyone.”   

For more information about White River Place follow the centre on Facebook at or on Twitter @Whiteriverplace 

For more information about the Sceptre Awards or to view the full shortlist, visit  

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