Festival Walk transformation on track to begin
Regeneration plans for an outdated shopping precinct in County Durham will finally get underway next month.
Festival Walk, located in the heart of Spennymoor town centre, is being redeveloped following a £600,000 investment from Durham County Council.
As part of ongoing regeneration work across the county, it’s hoped the town centre transformation will help attract more shoppers and businesses to County Durham.
The previous owners of Festival Walk went into administration just over ten years ago and in that time the council has been determinedly working on plans to improve the precinct and redevelop it for the benefit of residents.
The council’s investment will lead to the creation of a new, free to use, town centre car park on the former Kwik Save site, encouraging more people to visit and shop in the town.
Meanwhile, a large part of the existing site will be demolished to create a new larger ALDI store, replacing the town’s current ALDI store, which the supermarket has said it has outgrown. The current store will be re-let.
Developers Hellens Group will then refurbish the remaining units to provide a more up to date retail space. It is hoped this will help attract new businesses to the town and offer more choice to shoppers.
Work will begin on site on 12 October, with demolition planned to start after Christmas.
In addition to investing in the new car park, the council is also planning to improve the town’s Market Place which sits in front of Festival Walk in order to offer a more appealing and welcoming environment to visitors and provide a more positive first impression.
Cllr Carl Marshall, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for economic regeneration, said: “We’re very much looking forward to work getting underway on Festival Walk. This redevelopment has been a long-standing project which has been a priority of both residents and businesses in the town and it is fantastic to see that our plans are finally becoming a reality.
“We are determined that County Durham’s town centres will thrive and to safeguard jobs and enrich the lives of our residents. Plans to improve both Festival Walk and the Market Place form an ongoing programme of investment and redevelopment for Spennymoor and we look forward to attracting more businesses and shoppers to the town centre in order to regenerate the town and boost its economy further.”
Gavin Cordwell-Smith, chief executive of Hellens Group, said: “We have been working alongside Durham County Council for some time now to lead on the regeneration of Festival Walk and we’re looking forward to finally getting started on the first phase of project in the next few weeks involving the relocation of an existing substation prior to the demolition commencing. Along with the wider investment in the town, this is going to significantly improve the shopping and visitor experience to Spennymoor and bring about many long-term benefits for residents.”
Although the town’s Kingfisher car park will not be in use once demolition work has started, it will be open until after Christmas. All other car parking sites will continue operating as normal during construction works.
It’s hoped the new look Festival Walk will be ready to welcome shoppers, businesses and visitors by autumn next year.