National food retailer Iceland is moving to larger premises in Stockton as part of major changes to the town centre.
Iceland is the latest retailer set to relocate from the Castlegate Shopping Centre into Wellington Square, as part of Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council’s ambitious plans to transform the Castlegate Centre site and to help safeguard the traditional retail offer within the town centre.
It will take up the former Energie Gym unit as they vacate the town, in a space that is around 2,000 square foot larger than its previous Castlegate home, ready for a summer opening date.
Iceland is relocating after the Council bought the Castlegate Centre and former Swallow Hotel, with bold plans to demolish the site to make way for the creation of a new urban park, performance spaces, spaces for young people, public realm improvement and the bridging of Riverside Road to allow uninterrupted access from the High Street to the River Tees.
Iceland will join a growing number of retailers who have worked with the Council to complete successful moves into Wellington Square, including national brand Poundland in the Summer and more recently, financial retailer Ramsdens in March.
The Council’s employment and training hub will also occupy a temporary unit in the shopping centre, linking residents and businesses across the Borough with job opportunities and training.
Several other relocations of retailers are also in the final stages of agreement, including local business Blue Corn Bakery set to take up a new, larger unit along with outdoor seating
The former H&M unit is also due to be reconfigured into seven smaller retail units by autumn of this year.
The unit that was previously occupied by the clothing retailer will be transformed into smaller units to meet the needs of modern retail, allowing smaller businesses to take up a premises that are fit for purpose. Three of these seven units are already under offer.
Nigel Cooke, Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing and Regeneration, said: “It’s very exciting to have Iceland, one of the town’s established national retailers, successfully relocate to Wellington Square.
“Stockton’s town centre is set for a bright future. Despite the bold changes that the town centre is undergoing, it remains important for Stockton to have a healthy retail offering at its heart in Wellington Square and the north end of the High Street.
“This move, along with the likes of Ramsdens, Poundland and Blue Corn Bakery is showing that retail still plays a part in the new generation of town centres and high streets, sitting side by side with entertainment and leisure.
“We recognise the role that retail plays across all of our six towns and by creating a compact retail core in Stockton, we are ensuring the long-term future of a successful and vibrant town centre.”
The next step in the Council’s regeneration plans for Borough’s six town centres were given approval at a Cabinet meeting in February.
The Council has worked together with Iceland on their relocation as part of these ambitious plans.
Lynne Kinnersley, owner of Blue Corn Bakery, said: "We're very excited to be the first independent family business to be joining a number of successful retailers in Wellington Square.
"Thanks to the constant support of the local community, our business is evolving and we are delighted that our expansion means we can offer outdoor and indoor seating areas to provide new ways of serving our customers."
Following completion of the relocation of tenants, work is set to begin on the demolition of the Castlegate Centre and the Swallow Hotel in early 2022.