SKIPTON'S new shops and restaurant complex has changed hands for more than £9 million.

The £8.6 million Albion Place, which opened earlier this year and includes Pizza Express, Chevin Cycles and Cotswold Outdoor, has been sold by developers Maple Grove to independent fund management business Mayfair Capital.

Craven District Council has now received final settlement for the undeveloped site - which included the former High Street Clinic building - of £831,050.

Maple Grove, chosen by the council as its development partner four years ago to develop the land, first marketed the site at the end of 2012 for offers in excess of £8.6 million.

The company was looking for a development partner at the time and advertised it as having a potential annual rental income of £610,000.

Advisors on the sale included law firm Gateley and property firm GVA.

Andrew Mellor, Gateley real estate partner, said the sale was a significant achievement.

"Our advice has enabled the business to sell a significant retail scheme which has been acquired, pre-let, financed and developed in a very difficult market.

"There have been complex negotiations with the local authority, occupiers and adjoining landowners which we've been able to successfully assist with. It has given Skipton town centre a new lease of life, attracting visitors to the area, lowering unemployment levels and helping local businesses to grow.

"I am delighted to have seen the scheme reach fruition."

Graham Pilkington, senior development manager at Maple Grove, said: "We have worked with Gateley since the inception of this project to make sure that the complex development process was kept as simple as possible.

"This joint approach was extremely successful, demonstrated by the fact that over 95 per cent of the available retail accommodation was let prior to practical completion and the sale of the finished development to Mayfair Capital ran smoothly.

"The Albion Place retail development adds to the portfolio of developments undertaken by Maple Grove in sensitive historic town centres and all the retailers have reported excellent levels of trade since opening."