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Work gets under way on £15m town development


MOVERS and shakers in South Derbyshire have joined in with a groundbreaking ceremony to mark the start of a £15 million scheme.

South Derbyshire District Council chief executive Frank McArdle, chairmanWork is now beginning on an 112,000 sq ft mixed-use retail and leisure redevelopment in Swadlincote which will include a five-screen cinema, Argos, Peacocks and Home Bargains – plus supermarkets Iceland and Aldi.

Other names will be announced shortly and trading is expected to begin by Christmas 2011.

The project will generate more than 350 jobs and pump at least £20m a year into the local economy.

Yesterday, joint venture developers Rokeby Developments and Peveril Securities hosted a ceremony with representatives from South Derbyshire District Council to launch the major scheme on the former Wraggs Pipes and Hepworth’s production plant site, in Coppice Side.

Its significance has been heightened by the fact that construction starts have become increasingly rare in the current financial climate.

Frank McArdle, the chief executive of South Derbyshire District Council, said: “This development will be the catalyst for the regeneration of the town as a trading centre. I’d like to thank the developers for keeping the faith and helping to turn this project into a reality.

“The development will retain several existing buildings while providing a setting that will form an integral part of the town for generations to come. Its direct links to the High Street will enhance Swadlincote’s visitor experience.

“It is yet more proof that Swadlincote is fast emerging as a major destination of choice for business and retail.”

Adrian Goodall, managing director of Rokeby (Swadlincote) Ltd, said: “This has been a fantastic team effort and I would like to thank everyone who has helped drive this project forward.

“We expect to have handed over a finished scheme to tenants for fit-out by July of next year and expect it will be trading by Christmas 2011. This scheme will play a major role in the regeneration of Swadlincote by encouraging people to work and shop in the town instead of leaving the locality.”

It is anticipated the scheme will create scores of construction jobs. The main contractor is Derbyshire-based national development and construction firm Bowmer and Kirkland.

Ralph Jones, managing director of Peveril Securities, said: “What has made this such an attractive project is not only the site’s tremendous potential, witnessed by the pre-lets and pre-sales, but also the fact that we have been able to work with such a pro-active local authority that has shown a real determination to make projects happen.”

The developers have committed to a £4 million restoration of the old Hepworth’s chimney and four of the old factory buildings to retain the town’s industrial heritage. The four original buildings will be the main element of a new restaurant quarter for the site, which is shortly to be launched.

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Helen Kreft

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