The Rock opens in Bury

Michael Hunt

Thousands of eager shoppers have so far visited the £350m retail scheme in Bury town centre.

The 620,000 sq ft centre officially opened on Friday and 7,500 people are claimed to have arrived to watch the start of Hammerson's launch event.

Over 180 local children paraded through The Rock carrying oversized flags adorned with artwork created by the children, which represented 'what Bury means to them'.

The sound of the Japanese Dojo drum kick-started the carnival-style events, and signalled the start of the colourful Bury Beat Parade down Central Street.

David Laycock, centre director for The Rock, took to the stage just before 11am to welcome the crowds and lead a count down to officially open the doors to commence trading at The Rock. A representative from Peter Jackson Jewellers was also on hand to present Suzanne Clark, from Heywood, with The Rock £500 diamond after she successfully unravelled online clues to find the hidden gem underneath the Clock Tower at Bury Interchange.

Laycock said: "The launch of The Rock has catapulted Bury into one of the North West's leading fashion hotspots. This stunning scheme heralds a new era for Bury bringing a strong mix of retailers and restaurateurs to a classic Lancashire town.

"We are incredibly proud of what we have been able to achieve for Bury and all the hard work that has gone in to creating The Rock. The response to the launch from the community has been overwhelming and it's great that we can now hand The Rock over to the town of Bury for everyone to enjoy."

H&M at The Rock in BuryThe Rock is anchored by Debenhams and Marks & Spencer alongside Next, Peacocks, Primark, H&M, Cult, River Island and Oasis. A Vue cinema and AMF Bowling anchor the leisure content, with restaurant operators Pizza Express, Frankie & Benny's and Nando's.

Around 500 people were already queuing at the entrance for the Primark store at about 10.50am on Friday.

BDP designed The Rock and Laing O'Rourke constructed the scheme. Halifax Bank of Scotland owns the centre. Hammerson replaced Thornfield Properties in January after HBOS put subsidiary Thornfield Ventures into administration. Agents are CBRE and GCW. DTZ is the centre's managing agent.

The day of entertainment and celebration continued until 8pm.

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Its a fantastic scheme. You should go and check it out. You won;t be disappointed. Bury has gone all glamorous overnight and now is a town centre that has everything – character, distinctivenes, unique tourist attractions and fantastic shopping and leisure. This will keep Bury going for many years to come. Well done!

By Durks30

Its just the people of Bury you now only ned to worry about!

By anon

Shame they couldnt put a roof over it – everyone got soaked at the opening ;o(

By if only