The opening of the new Pets at Home store on the Willowburn Retail Park in Alnwick marks the final phase of a development which has proved instrumental in shaping the future of the town.
It was in the Spring of 2007 when the first phase of this gateway site was completed, marked by a new leisure centre and the opening of Argos and Homebase. This was swiftly followed the following year by a Sainsburys store which saw the town’s food retail market opened up to competition for the first time.
The latest and final stage in the development of the Willowbun Retail Park has seen space in the final unit taken by national retail chain Pets at Home. Opened by the Mayor of Alnwick, Alan Symmonds last month, this unit provides retail floorspace of over 6,000 sq ft including a mezzanine level of more than 3,000 sq ft to be used by the store for veterinary and dog-grooming services.
“It’s easy to forget that only 10 years ago many people in the Alnwick area felt the need to travel to other towns for their main food and DIY shopping, simply because of the limited choice available in the town,” says Colin Barnes head of Planning and Development at Northumberland Estates.
“Since then several national and regional retail chains have also moved to the town and take space - most recently Aldi, Topps Tiles and Screwfix. This is in addition to 2,600m2 of new office space at Cawledge Business Park including the extremely popular business start up Enterprise hubs, a petrol filling station and the Hogs Head Inn, all developed and funded by Northumberland Estates. These investments in retailing and the service sector have created many new jobs and reinforced the town’s role as the major service centre in North Northumberland.
“With the opening of the new High School in September and the commencement of construction by Taylor Wimpey to deliver 230 new homes at the southern end of the town, Alnwick continues to grow and prosper, the improving footfall bringing with it new job opportunities and economic growth throughout. At Northumberland Estates we aim to deliver regeneration through development and see Alnwick as a good example of what can be achieved.”