Christmas really is something to celebrate this year for shoppers and retailers at Old Market, Hereford. Last Sunday (7 December) the £90m development was crowned “New Centre of the Year” at the British Council of Shopping Centres annual dinner in London. The award submission was made by Stanhope PLC, the centre developer and British Land.
The “New Centre of the Year” category covers new centres of any size or format whether they are based in the town centre, edge of town or out of town. The award is designed to recognise developments that have taken the industry forward in these challenging economic times, setting new benchmarks and levels of innovation.
Old Market opened its doors for the first time in May of this year and has boasted visitors in the region of 115,000 per week. All remaining units on the site are now let or under offer.
Scott Lahive, centre manager at Old Market shopping centre, said:
“This is a fantastic endorsement of the city of Hereford as a shopping destination. Since Old Market opened in May, shoppers have stayed in Hereford and come from far and wide to spend the day here. We’ve worked hard to deliver a wealth of fashion, food and leisure options for customers, and as the Christmas shopping season hots up we hope this award will remind people about what a great place Hereford is to buy their gifts.”
The council began its part of the Old Market journey in 2003, when plans were put in place to move the old cattle market to its new site at Roman Road, on the outskirts of Hereford. Since its eventual move in 2011 the new cattle market has become one of the most successful of its kind in the country.
Councillor Tony Johnson, leader of Herefordshire Council said:
“We are nothing short of delighted by the news. The development has taken Hereford into a new league in terms of shopping destinations. The city has now moved into the top 100 shopping locations in the UK and the future looks bright.
“We are delighted that the development has brought much needed new employment. Reports indicate that footfall in Hereford city has increased; not only on the Old Market site but also in High Town – a great indication that Old Market is benefitting traders old and new.”
In 2006, Hereford Futures (formerly ESG Ltd) was incorporated to ensure the county had access to the commercial expertise necessary to deliver the extensive plans for what was then known as the Edgar Street Grid, which encompassed 100 acres of the underused city centre site.
Hereford Futures secured the private investment needed for the Old Market retail development site and the Urban Village housing development.
Public and private sector investment was secured over the coming years and the masterplan for the wider regeneration site was developed and consulted on in 2008/09. Planning consent for the new development was granted in 2010 and construction began in 2013. The construction was completed in just over a year; six months ahead of schedule.
Gary Bourne, Director of Stanhope who developed Old Market comments:
“Over more than seven years, in co-ordination with Herefordshire Council, we worked to ensure we were delivering a quality new shopping and leisure space for Hereford that would complement the wider city centre, create jobs and give Herefordians a new part of their city to be proud of. The boost Old Market has given to Hereford since it opened earlier this year proved that it had all be worthwhile, and national retail industry recognition such as this BCSC Gold award is a wonderful acknowledgement of its success.”
One of the council’s priorities is to invest in projects to improve roads, create jobs and build more homes. The development of the retail site has regenerated the old market and brought 1100 new jobs to the city. The Urban Village will see 800 new homes; 35% of which will be affordable, constructed over the coming years.