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Work under way on major new retail park in Crawley
Work has started on a major new retail scheme at County Oak, Crawley, which will bring three frontline household retailers to the town.
Sussex-based Cantium Developments has awarded the construction contract for Acorn Retail Park to leading property, residential, construction and services group Kier, which employs 86 people from its Crawley offices at Sussex Manor Business Park.
Kier will undertake the scheme on a site of approximately three acres, prominently located next to the established and highly successful County Oak Retail Park. It will comprise a single high quality retail building of 41,936sq ft, which will be arranged internally to provide three separate units.
These units will be occupied by M&S Simply Food, Aldi and Smyths Toys.
Steve Cresswell, operations director for Kier, which recently completed a programme of four SEN school extensions for West Sussex County Council in Crawley, Littlehampton and Shoreham-by-Sea, commented: "We are delighted to have been chosen to deliver this exciting new retail park, which will give the Crawley residents and people who work in the Manor Royal Business District a wider choice of shopping facilities when it opens to the public next summer. We're also pleased to be able to offer vital training opportunities during the build, and will be employing an apprentice on the scheme."
Chris Boulter, Cantium Developments chief executive, said: "From mighty oaks do acorns grow and hence one of our core objectives has been to emulate the success of the neighbouring County Oak Retail Park. The Acorn Retail Park will unquestionably extend the range of available retail choice for Crawley residents, while also bringing much needed and easily accessible convenience food shopping for the benefit of the Manor Royal workforce.
"We are confident that the scheme will, from the outset, enjoy considerable success. That sentiment is clearly evidenced by the pre-lettings to three of the UK's major retailers."
At the end of 2014, discount supermarket chain Aldi announced that it plans to create 35,000 jobs in the UK in the next eight years by opening 550 new stores.
The M&S Simply Food store will include an in-store café with an external seating area, and the Smyths Toys unit, which will be the retailer's first store in Crawley, will sell a number of larger items like paddling pools in addition to the usual popular toys.
Work has started on site and the scheme is expected to open to the public in summer 2016.