Co-op’s Woolworths site now full

The 350,000 sq ft former Woolworths depot in Rochdale is now fully occupied by interim tenants whilst a development brief is drawn up.

The Royle Barn Road, Castleton site is now home to 12 businesses that have taken cheap flexible leases. Occupiers include Soccer Factory Leisure, operating 5-a-side football pitches, storage and distribution businesses, a packaging company and the Impact Partnership, a joint venture between Rochdale Borough Council, Mouchel and IT firm Agilisys.

Following the collapse of Woolworths, the 22-acre site fell into the hands of Britannia Building Society, now part of Co-operative Bank, lender to the previous owner, a Jersey trust.

In March, the Co-op won planning permission to build 40,000 sq ft of retail, 300 homes and 70,000 sq ft of office and industrial space.

Bristol-based development advisors Adapt Properties and Clevedon-based surveyor Luscombe Trehane LPA are advising the Co-op. Letting agents on the site are local Rochdale company Barton Kendal.

Graham Payne, partner at Adapt Properties, said: "It is an important site for the town and the full letting of the warehouse is an important step in securing the site's long term future as an asset for Rochdale. The businesses we have attracted all need short term, flexible accommodation at a very competitive price and this is what we are able to offer them.

"For our clients the lettings generate sufficient income to cover ongoing holding costs enabling them to purse the longer term plans and development of the area which is a key strategic site in the Castleton Regeneration Corridor."

Cllr Peter Williams, Rochdale Council cabinet member for corporate management and economic regeneration, said: "It was an incredible blow to Rochdale when Woolworths closed down but this shows that with the right team in place, different uses can be found for key sites. In March planning permission was given for 40,000 sq ft of retail space including a food store, 300 residential units and 70,000 sq ft of employment space on the site which is great news for Castleton and the borough. The site is a really important asset for the future but it's great that it's also being used productively in the shorter term."

A development brief is due in early 2012.

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