Demolition marks major milestone in shopping centre transformation
The multi-million-pound redevelopment of an outdated shopping precinct is gathering pace with the demolition of derelict buildings on site.
This week, the former Kwik Save supermarket in Festival Walk in Spennymoor was razed to the ground as part of a major scheme to transform the area into an attractive and modern shopping area.
The demolition will make way for a new, free to use town centre car park, along with the creation of a larger Aldi store to replace the supermarket’s existing branch in the town.
Aimed at attracting more shoppers and businesses into Spennymoor, the redevelopment of Festival Walk has benefited from a £600,000 investment from Durham County Council’s Towns and Villages programme. This is a key part of the council’s regeneration strategy and aims to ensure the money the local authority spends and the services it provides deliver the best possible outcomes for communities across County Durham.
The programme is already acting as a catalyst for further regeneration and investment, with the council’s initial commitment to Festival Walk, for example, attracting hundreds of thousands of pounds-worth of additional funding from the private sector.
Cllr Carl Marshall, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for economic regeneration, said: “The demolition of the former Kwik Save supermarket is a major milestone in the transformation of Festival Walk. It also demonstrates our commitment to ensuring Spennymoor and other towns and villages across the county are vibrant and prosperous for generations to come.
“The coronavirus pandemic has had a devastating impact on town centres and the investments we are making through our Towns and Villages programme will play a vital role in helping County Durham communities to recover.
“The improvements underway at Festival Walk will not only provide better facilities and a more pleasant environment for residents, but will enhance Spennymoor’s reputation as a shopping destination, attracting more visitors, boosting the local economy and encouraging more retailers to invest in the town.”
Hellens Group is leading the regeneration of Festival Walk and MGL Demolition is carrying out the demolition, with preparatory work beginning on site last month. Once demolition is complete, Hellens will begin constructing the new public car park and will also refurbish the remaining units to provide a more up to date retail space. The current Aldi store will be re-let.
Gavin Cordwell-Smith, chief executive of North East-based developer, Hellens Group, said: “We have been pleased to work alongside Durham County Council in planning the regeneration of Festival Walk for some time.
“Reaching this milestone in the demolition process moves us one step closer to delivering significant improvements which can be enjoyed by all residents of Spennymoor and the wider community.
“Once completed the shopping and visitor experience will be greatly enhanced, providing many benefits to residents in the area and to the local economy.”
The council is also planning work to enhance Spennymoor’s Market Place, which sits in front of Festival Walk, to ensure it is as appealing and welcoming to visitors as possible and provides a positive first impression of the area.
It is expected that the new look Festival Walk will be ready to welcome shoppers, businesses and visitors by early 2022.
To find out more about the Towns and Villages programme, visit www.durham.gov.uk/townsandvillages.