Registered in April this year, it is believed Blue Coast is part of the Lewis Trust Group, owned by one of Britain’s wealthiest families.

According to the 2014 Sunday Times Rich List, 88-year-old Bernard Lewis and his family are worth £1.25 billion.

They own 300 River Island stores worldwide and also operate hotels and real estate.

News of the handover has been received positively, prompting renewed hopes Town Square might finally be redeveloped.

Former Stratford mayor and long-time campaigner for improvement at Town Square, Cyril Bennis, said: “I hope the transfer of the lease to Blue Coast will have a positive impact, creating a dynamic area beneficial to residents and shoppers, unlike what it has become under London Regional’s management, a wasteland of ‘business investment’.”

Roughly two thirds of Town Square is owned by Stratford District Council and one third by Stratford Town Trust.

The council and the trust issued a joint statement confirming they had received an application to transfer the lease from London and Regional to Blue Coast.

“Should the transaction be completed SDC and the Town Trust are confident major improvements in the site will be the outcome,” it read.

Planning permission to build a cinema on the site lasts until 2017, and although Blue Coast did not wish to comment, it is believed their plans still include a cinema.

Not everybody welcomed the news. Charities such as Escape Community Arts and Coventry Cyrenians have been utilising the empty units free of charge.

Karen Williams, project manager for Escape, said: “Our lease is due to run out at the end of July which we’re terrified about.”

Men’s Shed, a group of men over 50s who get together to build things for the community, are also under threat. Richard Ware, their 65-year-old chairman, is not looking forward to relocating a whole carpentry shop.

“We’ll have to get out of here we understand that, but what is rather worrying is we’ve got a load of equipment,” he said.

Both charities are looking for alternative premises. Call Karen on 07725563413 and e-mail Men’s Shed on menshedsstratforduponavon@ gmail.com

London and Regional and Blue Coast did not wish to comment.

This story first appeared in the Herald on Thursday 10th July. For all the latest Stratford news pick up the paper each week for just 60p.