Work has started on the long-awaited £70m commercial element of the Flemingate regeneration scheme in the heart of Beverley.
And to coincide with the main contractor’s arrival on site, the developer, Hull-based Wykeland Group, has announced that Arcadia, one of the United Kingdom’s biggest names in retail, is the latest to sign up to the scheme.
Arcadia, will operate its Outfit brand which will include Top Shop and Top Man, are to occupy a 12,500 sq. ft. store and will join H & M, Wilkinson, Premier Inn and the anchor retailer Debenhams on the 10-acre development which is due to be open to the public before Christmas 2015. Interest is also high from other leading retail and leisure operators.
On the adjoining residential site, 130 new homes have already been built and work commenced two weeks ago on the new Beverley campus for the East Riding College.
Flemingate is destined to be one of the North’s premier shopping and leisure locations and as well as accommodating many High Street retail names it will also have restaurants, the first of which has been named as Zizzi, a five-screen digital cinema complex operated by Parkway Cinemas and multi-storey parking for more than 500 cars.
Once completed, the Flemingate scheme will create around 700 jobs with a further 130-plus involved in the construction period.
Dominic Gibbons, managing director of the Wykeland Group, said Flemingate would significantly add to Beverley’s retail offering, making the town even more attractive to visitors, tourists and shoppers from across the Yorkshire region and beyond.
He added: “Beverley is a beautiful town which already attracts significant numbers of people to its extensive offering of quality independent shops. We believe Flemingate, by focusing on larger, quality national brands, will considerably broaden the town’s retail offering, making Beverley a top location.
“With Arcadia’s commitment to Flemingate coinciding with work commencing on site, we have reached a significant milestone in the development’s history”.
Wykeland has appointed Willmott Dixon as the main building contractor with work starting this week following confirmation that the deal with Arcadia had been reached.
Willmott Dixon’s managing director, Anthony Dillon, said: “Flemingate is a fantastic scheme that will bring major economic and leisure benefits to Beverley. We are delighted that work has finally commenced and we look forward to delivering a truly great shopping and leisure facility”.
Coun. Stephen Parnaby, Leader of East Riding of Yorkshire Council, praised Wykeland for their determination and tenacity in bringing their vision for the former tannery and chemical works site through to reality. He said: “The development and planning process for this land began way back in 2005, if not earlier, and the company is to be congratulated for now being able to deliver such an important scheme.
“It is just what the town needs. Beverley is a thriving, bustling community of independents shops which give the town its character and offer fantastic, artisan products they would not get elsewhere, but the town lacks the commercial space needed to accommodate large national retailers that have wanted to come here for many years but have not been able.
“Flemingate provides that space and testament to that is the quality of the brands that have signed up to be part of the development, which will provide shoppers with extra choice when visiting our precious and historic town”.
Our photograph shows (left to right): Russ Parks, Willmott Dixon senior site manager; Dominic Gibbons, managing director of the Wykeland Group; Coun. Stephen Parnaby, Leader of the East Riding of Yorkshire Council; Simon Butcher, Willmott Dixon operations director; and Guy Evans, Wykeland’s Head of Development.