Independent businesses in the Brunel Shopping Centre could consider leaving if more big names leave the town centre.

On Thursday Sainsbury’s announced it would be closing its branch in the complex in November.

The latest loss to the high street comes after Debenhams and TopShop left earlier this year.

But now big names are leaving, independent shops are also considering their position.

Lee Mulholland, owner of Something Different Gift Shop, said: “There’s going to be many people, when their breaks in their leases come up, will be exercising it.

“The units work on an estimated retail value and that’s not been updated since 2014. That’s the value the units were six years ago, so it doesn’t take into regard what’s happened in the last four months.

“People are going, ‘why do we need to be paying that? We can go elsewhere.’

“Sainsbury’s is a big draw to the centre so we’ll see an impact. But it adds argument to my break in the lease.

“We’ve now got no Argos, Starbucks and Sainsbury’s is about to go. If any more leave the value of this shop doesn’t match what I’m paying.

“Unless they’re prepared to talk turkey on our lease, we’ll be following suit.”

His thoughts were shared by Johnathon Brown, one of the co-owners of the Incredible Comic Shop.

He added: “We’ve had conversations and Sainsbury’s is a big place where people come to shop.

“They come here for it then they wander around and we get trade. It’ll be a big hit for the building.

“We’re already considering leaving. Our lease is up in a year and a half. We were going to judge it at the end of our lease.

“For the time being we’ll stay here for the duration of the lease. Luckily for us we’re a destination based store so most people that come here come specifically for us.

South Swindon Parish Council, which covers the town centre, said more needs to be done to stop shops from leaving.

Chairman Chris Watts said: “It’s concerning to hear that the Sainsbury’s closure could lead to a mass exodus of shops in the Brunel.

“Swindon’s town centre is in trouble at the moment with the Regent Circus site on the brink and 10 years of delays with the Kimmerfields development.

“The parish council has invested in Queens Park and GWR Park to improve the look and feel of these two town centre parks, but we need urgent action to ensure the town centre doesn’t get left behind and I think the government should be doing more to incentivise businesses to stay in the high street.

“We want the town centre to succeed and be a place people want to go to.”

A spokesperson for The Brunel Shopping Centre commented: “What draws people to The Brunel is that this is so much more than a place to shop. This is a place to meet and share new retail experiences, which is thanks in large part to our growing community of independent retailers.

“Whether it’s vegan socials, ping-pong events, or the much-loved Brunel Knights evenings, the sense of community and engagement we’ve established is something of which we are very proud.

“While high streets like here in Swindon continue to be impacted by Covid-19, we are pleased to report footfall at The Brunel currently exceeds the national average.

“We are therefore confident that shoppers will return in even greater numbers when this period of disruption is behind us.

“Swindon town centre is currently undergoing a period of transformation and our regeneration plans for Wharf Green will significantly contribute to this, further adding to the area’s desirability and encouraging increased footfall.

“Furthermore, The Brunel is lined up to receive a £100,000 investment from the Towns Funds for the creation of a brand new market hall, reflecting our community-first approach at the centre. In the meantime we will continue to work closely with all our tenants at this challenging time.”