Card Factory, Savers, Specsavers and Hays Travel are all set to open new stores before Christmas with new units also agreed for Mobile Extras, Finishing Touches and tattoo parlour Marked For Life.
These moves follow on from the successful relocation of Iceland and technology retailers CEX in recent weeks as well as Blue Corn Bakery, Junior Jungle, Ramsdens, Suit Direct and Poundland over the last year.
Work is also due to begin in early November on the refurbishment of the former H&M unit, which will be subdivided to create six smaller, individual retail units.
Timpson and Max Spielmann will join independent businesses, Peacocks Greengrocers, Ray’s Deli, Harry Meynell’s and hair and makeup shop Faking It, who are all set to complete moves into the new, purpose-made units in early 2022.
Businesses are relocating ahead of bold plans to demolish the Castlegate Centre site next year to make way for a riverside urban park, Stockton Waterfront.
Stockton Waterfront is the next step in the regeneration journey of the Borough’s six town centres to transform them to address the decline in retail and make them fit for the future.
Under these plans, Stockton’s main retail offering will be focused in Wellington Square and the north end of the High Street with Stockton Waterfront featuring high quality, flexible, accessible spaces, that can accommodate events, markets and spaces for young people as well as a land bridge over Riverside Road to allow uninterrupted access from the High Street to the River Tees.
As part of the relocation process, the Council has also worked with other Castlegate tenants TukTuk Inn, Arriva, Veith Nails and Café Express to support them in successfully finding alternative locations on the High Street.
Councillor Nigel Cooke, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Housing, said: “It’s fantastic to see so many businesses, both national and independents, moving to Wellington Square and other town centre premises.
“We’re also continuing to work proactively with tenants who remain in the Castlegate Centre to secure suitable accommodation for them within Stockton town centre.
“They range from various independent stores like Furniture Express to the High Street names of Barclays, Boots, Heron Foods, Warren James, Subway and B&M.
“Superdrug, Suit Direct and Clinton Cards have also shown commitment to remaining in Wellington Square for a prolonged period of time, which is a huge sign of confidence for the future of retail in the town.
“Despite the huge changes that our town centres are undergoing, it’s still important for our six towns to have a healthy retail offering but it must be one that fits current demand.
“By creating retail space that fits current demand as well as encouraging new uses in Stockton, we are ensuring that our town is fit for future generations.”
Wellington Square is currently experiencing a weekly increase of footfall by one per cent or two per cent each week. This is three per cent higher than in 2019.
Joanne Llewellyn, store manager at Iceland, said the store has seen increased sales be 20 per cent and an uptake in home deliveries by 32 per cent.
She said: “The store is doing really well and we are so pleased with the transition over to Wellington Square.
“We are seeing lots of new faces coming in along with the familiar, our customer base has moved over with us. Feedback from customers has been great, they feel it’s bright, current and up-to-date and that access is so much easier.”