Work starts on £35m Outlet Village extension in Swindon
Buy this photo » Above, at the Outlet Village Long Shop, from left, Paul Briggs CEO of the Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce group, Sven Gaede UK, MD of McArthurGlen, Tina Cumpstey, centre manager at Swindon Designer Outlet, and MP Justin Tomlinson
WORK has started on a major multi-million pound extension to the Outlet Village which will create 350 jobs for the town.
Yesterday morning, the diggers moved on to the whopping £35m development, which will see the Long Shop building, part of the Grade II-listed Great Western Railway Works, become 30 extra shops.
The project will also see alterations within the existing centre with a new food court being developed and the exterior made more welcoming for shoppers.
Its design has won praise from politicians and local residents who say the plans will not only improve the local economy but also highlight Swindon’s heritage.
The works are due to take place in three stages and is set to be completed by March 2015.
Several stores currently open will move to the Long Shop area, which will link the whole outlet centre in a 1.3km loop, but more are due to be added, creating hundreds of new jobs.
“We have always embraced the heritage of this area and will continue to do that with the Long Shop as the history is very important to us,” said Tina Cumpstey, the centre manager.
“I think this work complements the rest of the growth in Swindon right now and we are very excited about everyone seeing it when the work is done.
“Today is a huge day as we have been planning it for so long it is great to finally see the work begin.”
It is a year to the day permission was granted for the extension. The first stage will see a new food court constructed in time for spring next year with the Long Shop being ready for September.
The Rodbourne Community History Group has said it is delighted with the plans and pleased McArthurGlen, the owners, have taken the Long Shop’s past into account.
Secretary of the history group, Gordon Shaw, 67, said: “Most of the time developers just bulldoze over a building with no consideration of its past.
“This hasn’t been done here and the plans look very good. The building was just standing unloved so it will be good to see it being brought back to life.
“We have worked with McArthurGlen for about 10 years now and we have a very good relationship with them.”
Swindon North MP Justin Tomlinson said: “The £35 million investment is a clear sign yet again that Swindon is now the choice for businesses, with 300,000 people living within 20 minutes and another 3m living within an hour of Swindon.
“Combined with the growing local economy and the town centre developments Swindon is now hugely attractive to those who are looking to invest.”
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