Shops to open at Bishop Auckland out-of-town site

TWO major national stores will open at a controversial out-of-town shopping complex next week.

Marks & Spencer will launch its Simply Food store at the Bishop Auckland Shopping Park, in St Helen Auckland, near Bishop Auckland, on Wednesday, January 16.

Next will follow by opening its store 24 hours later – meaning the first phase of the development will be complete.

Phase two, which will see four more units built, was approved by Durham County Council’s planning committee in November.

The opening of Simply Food will coincide with the closure of Marks & Spencer on Newgate Street, in Bishop Auckland, on Tuesday, January 15.

All the staff will be transferred to the new store to work alongside 20 new workers.

The shopping park has divided opinion throughout the town with campaigners against the project fearing it will kill off the high street.

Bishop Auckland resident Christine Atkinson handed over a 6,500 signature petition to Marks and Spencer bosses in an effort to keep the Newgate Street store open.

She said: “I would just like to thank everyone who helped, in particular Dr Bob McManners and Ann Pearce, and also those who signed the petition.

“It is disappointing that it didn’t work but I did as much as I could.”

Brantano, Pets At Home and Boots have all recently opened as part of phase one.

Comments (5)

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9:10pm Wed 9 Jan 13

pilchrat says...

I wish the Northern Echo would stop calling each headline about this retail development "controversial". How about, just, "Two new great shops opening with lots of new jobs following"?
I wish the Northern Echo would stop calling each headline about this retail development "controversial". How about, just, "Two new great shops opening with lots of new jobs following"? pilchrat
  • Score: 0

9:18pm Wed 9 Jan 13

blaze467 says...

This is great news; however there is an escalating traffic problem in the area, and I hope this will become a priority when considering further development.
This is great news; however there is an escalating traffic problem in the area, and I hope this will become a priority when considering further development. blaze467
  • Score: 0

10:54pm Wed 9 Jan 13

John Justice says...

blaze467, how can it be great news that a major national retailer is leaving Bishop Auckland town centre?. I take your point though that the "out of town development" is expanding to the detriment of our town centre. I agree that traffic issues need to be addressed in any future development.
I am on record as objecting to the demise of Bishop Auckland Town Centre but when you look at all of the retailers now opening at St Helens it is clear that Bishop Auckland Town did not and does not have the land capacity to enable the companies involved to build or open shops in the town. Now that Marks and Spencer is to leave one of the remaining largest store areas in the town I look forward to its re-opening in December 2013 as an unknown company selling cheap Christmas decorations and other bric a brac and then disappearing without trace having been given the full support of Durham County Council who will pick up two months or so short term rental.
Also thanks to Christine who tried her hardest to get M and S to remain in the town. I share your disappointment.
blaze467, how can it be great news that a major national retailer is leaving Bishop Auckland town centre?. I take your point though that the "out of town development" is expanding to the detriment of our town centre. I agree that traffic issues need to be addressed in any future development. I am on record as objecting to the demise of Bishop Auckland Town Centre but when you look at all of the retailers now opening at St Helens it is clear that Bishop Auckland Town did not and does not have the land capacity to enable the companies involved to build or open shops in the town. Now that Marks and Spencer is to leave one of the remaining largest store areas in the town I look forward to its re-opening in December 2013 as an unknown company selling cheap Christmas decorations and other bric a brac and then disappearing without trace having been given the full support of Durham County Council who will pick up two months or so short term rental. Also thanks to Christine who tried her hardest to get M and S to remain in the town. I share your disappointment. John Justice
  • Score: 0

11:18pm Wed 9 Jan 13

pilchrat says...

I thought the traffic was difficult at Christmas, but not so much from the new stores, but from the volume trying to get to Sainsbury's and Tesco's. It also didn't help that the bypass was closed at the Football Club at times with the flooding / rain, so hopefully if they sort that, it'll sort some of the traffic issues. In my opinion, the trouble seems to be too many traffic lights in quick succession; so traffic crossing Tindale Crescent can't clear before hitting the lights at Tesco, and vica versa, so everything snarls up until the lights change.

As for the town centre, I agree with John that most stores opening simply wouldn't have ever gone in the town centre; in fact you never find them in town centres of Bishop's size generally. Won't happen, but Newgate Street needs flattening and the size of the retail units sorted.
I thought the traffic was difficult at Christmas, but not so much from the new stores, but from the volume trying to get to Sainsbury's and Tesco's. It also didn't help that the bypass was closed at the Football Club at times with the flooding / rain, so hopefully if they sort that, it'll sort some of the traffic issues. In my opinion, the trouble seems to be too many traffic lights in quick succession; so traffic crossing Tindale Crescent can't clear before hitting the lights at Tesco, and vica versa, so everything snarls up until the lights change. As for the town centre, I agree with John that most stores opening simply wouldn't have ever gone in the town centre; in fact you never find them in town centres of Bishop's size generally. Won't happen, but Newgate Street needs flattening and the size of the retail units sorted. pilchrat
  • Score: 0

11:21am Sat 12 Jan 13

theWorkerScum says...

The only people who find it controversial are the councillors who have vested interests in other parts of the town. They think nothing for the County as a whole, total selfish and to be honest dead wood. Most of them fail to turn up for meetings and fail to respond to questions put to them. Villages in County Durham continue to deteriorate because of simple minded fools. At the end of the day dominoes, next etc would all have opened a shop in town by now if they thought it would be worth it, this development is similar to the Arnison Centre in that it is bringing money into the area, and stimulating the local economy. These councillors are so short sighted and lethargic, just try and do something for your area and attempt to get support from them, good luck with that!!
The only people who find it controversial are the councillors who have vested interests in other parts of the town. They think nothing for the County as a whole, total selfish and to be honest dead wood. Most of them fail to turn up for meetings and fail to respond to questions put to them. Villages in County Durham continue to deteriorate because of simple minded fools. At the end of the day dominoes, next etc would all have opened a shop in town by now if they thought it would be worth it, this development is similar to the Arnison Centre in that it is bringing money into the area, and stimulating the local economy. These councillors are so short sighted and lethargic, just try and do something for your area and attempt to get support from them, good luck with that!! theWorkerScum
  • Score: 0

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