Rochdale’s new flagship shopping and leisure development has reached a major milestone with two of the biggest names on the British high street signing up to the scheme.
M&S has completed an agreement for a new store in the Town Centre East development, a key strand of Rochdale town centre's ambitious £250m regeneration programme, while Next is expected to so do imminently.
M&S, which has been trading successfully in Rochdale since 1933, will open an even bigger and better store in the new development, which, at 50,000 square feet, (4,645 square metres), will have more than double its current retail sales floor space. The new M&S will sell homeware, food and clothing and will also have a café.
Next, the largest clothes retailer by sales in the UK, is looking to open a 22,000 square feet (2,044 square metres) shop in the new scheme over two floors, selling clothing, homeware and gifts.
Rochdale Borough Council Leader, Richard Farnell, said: “This is a really momentous day and the start of the re-birth of Rochdale town centre. It is the result of a lot of people working incredibly hard to make it happen and I hope it will at last convince people that Rochdale is serious when it says ‘we are on the up’. There is already a strong retail district in Rochdale but the Town Centre East development means we are going to have a completely new offer with lots of new big name shops that will make it even bigger and better.”
An M&S spokesperson said: “We are delighted to be part of Rochdale’s regeneration. The store will create a bigger and better shopping experience in Rochdale and we look forward to welcoming existing and new customers when the store opens.”
A Next Spokesperson said: “We have been waiting for a long time for the right opportunity for representation in Rochdale. We think Genr8’s town centre proposals are really exciting and we’re delighted to confirm that Next are about to complete on a major store of more than 22,000 square feet. We are confident that Genr8’s proposals will not only form a comprehensive, sustainable retail and leisure destination previously lacking in the town but will also ultimately reverse leakage and reposition Rochdale in the retail hierarchy.”
An independent economic assessment of the scheme, which is set to be around 200,000 square feet in size, suggests that the proposed development will create over 1,000 permanent jobs and could be worth around £17 million per year to the local economy.
Steve Rumbelow, Chief Executive of Rochdale Borough Council, said “There’s still a lot of hard work ahead, but this scheme will revitalise Rochdale town centre. It is another indicator of Rochdale borough’s economic comeback”
The scheme’s retail agents are currently in negotiation with a major leisure outlet and other well-known national high street retail chains and restaurants and more announcements are expected in the coming months. Once completed, it will comprise around 25 leisure and retail units, along with parking facilities.
Mike Smith, Partner at Genr8 Developments, said:
“This is a huge vote of confidence in the town and represents a major step forward. The scheme will be very much mixed use in nature – both leisure and retail – and we are now into the stage of detailed design that will result in a planning application in the next few months and a start on site in 2016.
“We are delighted that both M&S and Next are confirming their commitment and we will be making further announcements in the next few weeks. Rochdale is going from strength to strength. Through our partnership with the council we aim to deliver a retail and leisure environment which will be a magnet for both occupiers and consumers.”