Ambitious plans for a £10 million expansion of Accrington’s Arndale Centre have been unveiled.
Darren Hutchinson from Cornerstone Real Estate Advisers, the owners of the centre, said: "This development could really transform and regenerate the town centre and be a key stimulus to create employment in Accrington. It’s vitally important that the local authority support and promote this proposal to revitalise the town and ensure that their legacy is the preservation of the town centre for future generations."
Bosses have revamped proposals to extend the town’s flagship shopping centre in a bid to attract new retailers to the town.
Several options are under consideration, with the favoured one a 90,000 sq ft of ground and first floor retail and restaurant development arranged over nine or more units.
Previous proposals to expand the Arndale have rested on a major supermarket, with both Sainsbury’s and Morrison’s linked to the development.
However, with a new Tesco superstore approved in 2008that opened earlier this month, those plans failed to get off the ground.
The new complex would connect to the Arndale Centre via a bridge link and provide an additional 138 car parking spaces. The development has yet to be marketed to potential tenants, but interested players are thought to include JD Sports, Pets at Home, Next, Sportsworld and Dreams.
Stores that have a requirement to upsize or relocate include Argos, B&M Bargains and Farm Foods.
Bosses say there is also demand from a national hotel and restaurant company for a town centre site.
Back in June there were 15 empty stores in the Arndale but there are signs of revival, with 10 units let over the last year, and Store 21 opening on Broadway just last week.
Phil Bond, of Hyndburn Chamber of Trade, said an expansion of the Arndale would be a benefit to town centre traders, but the town would have to ‘wait and see’ what the effects of the new Eagle Street Tesco store would be.
Traders have previously argued that a supermarket should be located in the shopping centre rather than the outskirts of town, to increase footfall.
Greengates Builders Merchants Accrington say “this can only be good news for the town”.