Bury, Greater Manchester, has been highlighted in a national report setting out a rescue plan for Britain’s struggling high streets by the British Retail Consortium (BRC).
The Rock, a £330 million retail and leisure scheme in Bury, which will complete in 2010, was highlighted in the report, ‘21st Century High Streets – A new vision for our town centres’ as an example of innovation aimed at revitalising high streets.
The development, by Thornfield Properties in partnership with Bury Council and designed by architects BDP, will feature a 10-screen cinema, bowling alley, family entertainment centre, 400 apartments, restaurants, a town square and other public spaces, and a multi-storey car park for 1,250 vehicles. Retailers will include Debenhams, Marks & Spencer stores and 60 other outlets, almost doubling the town’s retail space.
The report said the Rock is expected to significantly improve the vitality and viability of Bury town centre by providing good transport links, a better shopping and leisure selection and more family facilities. Post-completion, Bury will rank 62nd in CACI’s top 100 UK retail town rankings and have a catchment of two million people within a 30-minute drive.
Adrian Frost, Partnership and Investment Manager at Bury Council, said: “We welcome these findings from such a prestigious body as the BRC. A partnership agreement between Thornfield Developments and Bury Council was part of the 2003 ‘Bury But Better’ town centre development strategy to expand the shopping centre, provide links to Bury markets, a new department store and other leisure facilities.
“We are currently reviewing this strategy in 2009 to take account of changes that have been initiated and changing circumstances.
“Bury is also pursuing a number of the other policies recommended in the report as there is no single solution or course of action to the issues raised.
Colin Sinclair, chief executive of MIDAS, said: “This is excellent news for Bury and is a great example of town centre regeneration in Manchester City Region. Bury has demonstrated innovation and vision and is really setting the standard for the town centre redevelopment across the region.”
The Rock development was also described as “brave” in the Colliers CRE Midsummer retail report last month.