From a derelict expanse of land to a thriving retail environment supporting 500 jobs and attracting thousands of shoppers from miles around, the Cromwell Road area of Wisbech has been transformed during the last few years.
This highly anticipated £50 million scheme got off the ground in 2013 and today is a bustling shopping and leisure complex boasting an eight screen cinema, a Tesco Extra, restaurants, a range of outlets and on-site car parking.
Once a busy and popular greyhound and stock car track, the Wisbech Stadium site was first earmarked as a retail complex in 2006 and just five years later Tesco announced plans to revitalise the land and build a new superstore - two and half times bigger than its existing shop.
In 2013, Bulldozers moved in and Tesco gave up its existing site to be converted into a retail park.
This area of south Wisbech now contains a shoppers' paradise of sports and leisure goods, electrical, food, pet, and DIY stores, as well as restaurants and leisure activities.
Sports Direct, Brantano and Iceland sit side by side with Halfords, Pets at Home, Dunelm and Curry's PC World. With McDonald's, KFC, Screwfix, and Lidl across the road, there's something for everyone.
Ralph Butcher, Portfolio Holder for Growth from Fenland District Council, said: "The redevelopment of this side of Wisbech has been transformational. The town now attracts buyers from all the surrounding villages and further afield.
"This regeneration has given the area the boost it needed for existing businesses and residential properties. It's a now thriving centre of commerce and new stores and businesses opening in the vicinity will find a customer base ready and waiting."
The Cromwell Road regeneration scheme created around 500 jobs - more than half of those were at the 24-hour Tesco store which has a petrol station, pharmacy, optician, ATM, travel money, phone shop, and Costa Coffee.
The Light Cinema, which has eight screens, has proved a popular draw with state-of-the-art digital picture and sound auditoriums, luxury seating and a licensed cafe bar.
With Frankie & Benny's, Prezzo, and Giraffe restaurants just next door, it's a great night out after a busy day shopping.
Ralph Butcher continues: "In the past Wisbech has lost out to neighbouring centres like Peterborough and King's Lynn - but not anymore. With our historic town centre and a vibrant scene of independent shops and businesses, we now have a leisure offer that appeals to all."
In 2015, the council took a lead role in developing and coordinating the adoption of a Broad Concept Plan for South Wisbech, engaging directly with landowners, agents and partners to secure agreement to masterplan over 80 hectares (200 acres) of prime development land on the southern fringe of Wisbech. It goes hand-in-hand with the Wisbech Access Study which sets out detailed transport solutions to the town along with building a business case to draw down Government funding for such infrastructure.
With phase one - the commercial element - well on plan, thoughts are turning to phase two which aim to see around 350 homes built in the area over the next five years, along with further industrial and commercial opportunities.
Ralph Butcher concluded: "Wisbech is a great place to do business. Not only is it a cost-effective location but we have a flexible and abundant workforce and good transport links to the surrounding areas. It's no wonder we're receiving high inward investment interest in the area. Cromwell Road is a great success story. There's no reason why we can't look at other parts of Fenland to reproduce it."
To discuss moving your business to Wisbech or to find out about more about investing in the wider Fenland area, contact the team at Fenland for Business:
Call: +44 (0) 1354 622506
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