A construction milestone has been celebrated at the £110 million A1 Shopping Park, Biggleswade’s new London Road retail complex.
A special ribbon cutting ceremony was held on site to mark the completion of the main construction works and the start of the final phases for fitting out the new stores ready for the scheme to open.
LXB Partners began the transformation of the London Road retail park site in 2013 and the final phase of the 300,000 square foot development is due to open to the public during the summer.
The new complex, which boasts a host of top quality retail brands including Boots, M&S, Next, River Island and TK Maxx, is creating more than 500 jobs for local people.
Aberdeen UK Property Fund acquired the development 12 months ago in addition to White Way Retail Park, Homebase and land adjacent to the park, all of which reflect its long term investment rationale.
Biggleswade Mayor Cllr Hazel Ramsey said: “The A1 Shopping Park will be a great asset for the area and the creation of 500 jobs is a huge benefit to the local economy. In future, local people will have a great selection of department stores on their doorstep.
“The Town Council has worked closely with the developers to avoid duplicating stores in the town centre, which has ensured that our Market Square retains its special character. The landscaping is well under way and I look forward to when the newly planted trees have grown sufficiently to become the ‘avenue of trees’ shown on the plans to provide a gateway to our town.”
Nick Alford, property director at LXB Partners, said: “It’s very exciting to get so close to completion of A1 Shopping Park and seeing the retailers opening their stores. The scheme looks fantastic and the tenants who have already opened have reported very strong trading performances.
“We relocated four retailers as part of Phase 1 and integrated the old Homebase into the new scheme. The sales performance of those tenants has improved already and I am sure this will continue as the second phase opens, increasing the retail draw in the locality.
“The Council asked us to create a gateway development into Biggleswade which would help to add to the town’s retail offer and encourage investment at Stratton Business Park.
“We believe we have achieved this and that continuing investment from the Shopping Park’s owner, Aberdeen UK Property Fund, will help create further job opportunities and increase the attraction of the town, which has a strategically strong location adjacent to the A1. We also brought forward the proposed road improvements on London Road and the A1 by three years, which will help the business park to prosper and attract new businesses to the area.”
Lucy Duncan, senior asset manager of Aberdeen Asset Management, said: “The public response to the new scheme has been overwhelmingly positive and we hope we have created a development which the town can be proud of.”