Shopping mecca a huge boost for jobs

NEW jobs are to be created at a major Fylde shopping mecca.

Bosses at Fleetwood Freeport today promised a further jobs boost when a raft of new shops open shortly.

The shopping village currently has 40 shops but there will be more than 50 when the 8.6m revamp of the centre is completed.

The news comes after superstore giant Asda created 250 new jobs in the port.

A spokeswoman for Fleetwood Freeport said: "We can't say exactly how many jobs there will be at this stage, but there is no question there will be another important economic benefit for the town."

Freeport was bought out by Hermes property Management in February 2004 and work to improve it has been going on for the last eight months.

The shopping village now employs 300 staff with extra jobs having come through two new cafes as well as Mexx, Trespass, Roman Originals, Cotton Traders and Paper Mill stores.

Centre manager Darren Winter said: "The arrival of new stores is not only exciting news for the shoppers of Fleetwood but also good news for the region with the creation of additional jobs.

"With a Marks and Spencer outlet opening in June or July and the larger, refitted Next clearance store having reopened, there are great career opportunities. The re-development period has been a very exciting time for us as we welcome some big names in retail to widen our appeal and give the village a large-scale spring clean.

"I'm sure the enhanced landscapes and new shops will prove popular with visitors when the developments are fully completed in the summer.

"We are looking forward to re-launching Freeport Fleetwood at the end of May with a day of entertainment."

Freeport opened in 1995 but was taken over by Hermes Property Management in February 2004 in a deal worth 194m which included three other Freeport sites. The previous owners dropped the Fleetwood site and made investments overseas after central government refused permission to double its size.