This is a 60,000 sq ft-plus scheme by Hellens Group. Credit: via Creo

Houghton-le-Springs retail build up and running

A £20m development that will house Tesco and Home Bargains is now under way, with tow giant steel structures erected at a former colliery site.

Situated on the edge of Houghton-le-Spring town centre, the scheme at the former Houghton colliery, which also includes new public realm and artwork, is being developed by North East property and construction specialist Hellens Group in conjunction with Darlington business Fintry Estates.

Tesco will occupy the largest of the two units, comprising 45,000 sq ft, with Home Bargains taking up almost 20,000 sq ft. Tesco will also be opening a petrol station on site, with the entire development delivering around 100 jobs.

A 300-bay carpark will also be built, including disabled spaces and electric car charging points, as well as a new footpath connecting the development to Houghton-le-Spring’s high street.

Cllr Kevin Johnston, dynamic city cabinet member at Sunderland City Council, said: “As a local resident as well as a ward councillor, it’s fantastic to see this development finally coming to life.

“Once the proud home of Houghton Colliery, the area has always held a special place in the hearts of residents, and I am sure this project will once again see it become a real economic success story for the area.

“As a Council, we made a commitment last year to review our procurement systems to ‘keep the Sunderland pound in Sunderland’ whenever possible, by prioritising local spend, and in Hellens Group we have a partner which is helping us do just that.

“It’s a business rooted in the local area, employing local people and working with local contractors to deliver a project which, alongside the new public artwork being created by Sam and Ray Lonsdale, will be truly transformational for the people of Houghton and we’re delighted to be supporting the project.”

Gavin CVordwell-Smith, left, and Cllr Kevin Johnston on site. Credit: via Creo

Now in its 50th year of business, Washington-based Hellens was founded in nearby Hetton-le-Hole in 1973.

Gavin Cordwell-Smith, chief executive, said: “We are enormously proud to be bringing forward this development in partnership with Sunderland City Council to deliver the redevelopment of Houghton Colliery as part of a more vibrant retail offer, bringing jobs and opportunities to local people.

“Sunderland City Council is an ambitious authority with a joined-up approach to strategic regeneration, it is a pleasure to be able to work with them on this journey.

“At Hellens, we’re truly committed to projects such as this which bring real value added to our region, a region that we have been proud to call home for all of our 50 years.”

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