New Fleetwood store set to open next month will see eyesore premises revamped
A new business is to open up in Fleetwood’s biggest shop building which has been empty for almost six years and became the town centre’s biggest eyesore.
The Ex-Catalogue Discount Outlet operation is to open in the former Store Twenty One premises on Lord Street.
Businessman Gareth Robb, 32, intends to officially open the new store in late February and says the enterprise will create between 15 and 20 new jobs.
He says the enterprise has benefited from a Wyre Council regeneration grant of up to £25,000 and a further £15,000 will be spent by the business, with much of the money being used on internal and external regeneration work.
Mr Robb, who lived in Fleetwood for many years, said: “We are looking to open next month, after a few hold-ups.
“We will be stocking a wide range of ex-catalogue items, clothing, bedding, homeware and furniture.
“We are a small local company taking on such a big project and we hope it shows how committed we are to bringing this store back to life and investing in the local community.”
The company already has a similar store at Blackpool’s Hounds Hill Centre and a smaller one in Cleveleys, having previously opened a much smaller shop on Lord Street before the lease ran out.
Terry Rogers, chairman of Fleetwood Festival of Transport (Tram Sunday) had recently called for something to be done about the store, given its position in the heart of Fleetwood.
He said: “This is very welcome news and I wish them the best of luck.”
The building was once the jewel in the crown on Fleetwood’s high street before its decline, with the town’s cherished Marks and Spencer store based there until 1986.
Up until 2016 it had been home to a Store Twenty One homeware and gifts branch, and before that a Hitchens discount outlet.
But after Store Twenty One closed its condition continued to deteriorate, with a metal sign and later a window falling off the building, and then a cannabis farm being discovered there.
Mr Robb is leasing the premises from the owners, a faith charity based on Salford.
He said: “They have been very helpful and have done some repair work to the roof themselves.
“I hope customers will make good use of our shop when it opens, I think it’s good for Fleetwood town centre.”