DIY retail giants Wickes are coming to Torquay. And it would appear their new store planned for the Edginswell business park could be just the start of what could be a major employment hub for that part of the town with hush, hush talks going on to lure in another business.
The 30,000 sq ft Wickes store, which is scheduled to open at the end of next year, comes at a crucial time as Torbay Council looks to accelerate its COVID-19 economic recovery plan to create much needed job opportunities in the construction and retail sectors.
Could another company in the manufacturing sector be about to join them?
Council deputy leader Darren Cowell says there are three parcels of employment land at Edginswell,
He says: "The first parcel is Wickes. We are also taking to another potential company for the second piece. They are at the earlyish stage but it would be a positive addition if it comes off. The company is a manufacturing company. There has also been a couple expressions of interest in the third parcel of land."
The announcement from Wickes comes after the council was successful in its bid at the end of 2020 to secure funding from the Heart of the South West LEP’s ‘Getting Building Fund’, which will support a £2.5million package of infrastructure works to open up the site for future phases of the development.
The first phase is due to start this summer and will include a new extension to Orchard Way, together with substantial earthworks that will create other serviced sites.
Cllr Cowell, said: "This site has been identified for employment for many years and I am delighted that for the first phase we have secured a national name. I am hopeful that future developments at Edginswell will ensure a mixed use for the site providing a variety of employment opportunities.
“The site is identified in both the Local and Neighbourhood Plans, so it is encouraging that we are able to deliver the aspirations of the community.”
Swithin Long, Cabinet Member for Economic Regeneration, Tourism and Housing for Torbay Council, said; “Edginswell business park is Torbay’s largest and most strategically important urban extension. The Wickes deal represents the first phase of commercial development at the six-acre business park which we anticipate will have a strong emphasis on job creation. We are delighted that Wickes have chosen to expand and invest in Torbay and will now occupy a prominent position on our gateway site”.
The site at Edginswell was purchased in 2018. The delivery of the development will be managed by TDA.
Jo Lord, Property Director at Wickes, said: “We’ve been looking to expand our network in the South-West and this location is perfect to provide more accessibility for customers, complementing our stores in Plymouth and Exeter. The new store will create 30 jobs in the area."
Karl Tucker, Chair of the Heart of the South West LEP, said; “This is great news for Torbay as it moves forward with its economic recovery and long-term growth plans.
"The HotSW LEP’s ‘Getting Building Fund’ aims to support ready-to-go projects that will deliver new jobs and contribute to our area’s post-COVID recovery. We are delighted to be able to award this funding, which will help to accelerate the Torquay Gateway project and unlock a number of employment opportunities."
It could indeed be busy and transformational times for the Edginswell park and surrounding area.
A new rail station is planned not far way which will work wonders in helping to ease transport and parking problems for Torbay Hospital staff and visitors as well as local residents.
That comes as the hospital is about to embark on a massive £250 million rebuild programme. And not a million miles away land is earmarked for 500 homes and a new school!
it is not only our town centres which are set for changing times as this gateway opens the door on a bright new future.
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