First shops completed at White River Place

White River Place
White River Place

Two new shops have been completed and handed over as part of St Austell’s £75 million town centre redevelopment scheme – White River Place.

The final stages of construction are well underway and Sir Robert McAlpine, the scheme’s main contractor, currently has a work force on site of around 280 with building work taking place 12 hours a day, seven days a week.

£31.5 million is being invested in the scheme by the South West Regional Development Agency (SWRDA) with the remainder of funding from White River Developments.

Wilkinson and HBoS have taken possession of their units to enable them to start fitting out the interiors – other retailers will move in over the next few months to begin their fit-outs. The 550-space car park for the scheme is virtually complete with lighting, line markings and services all fitted, ready to hand over to operator APCOA for the final stages.

Significant progress is being made on the residential blocks which will accommodate 69 apartments when finished – the external wall finishes are now well advanced which include coloured rendering, brickwork, locally sourced cedar boarding and sheet cladding. Concrete planters are being constructed alongside South Street which will be clad with Cornish stone walls. Paving is being laid through the main thoroughfare of the development together with installing slate pilasters which forms part of the new shop fronts.

All buildings within the White River Place development, including the service and delivery bays, have now been constructed and external finishes are being completed.

Sandra Rothwell, head of regeneration in Cornwall for SWRDA, added: “It is heartening to see such rapid progress by the construction team and to know that White River Place is well on course for the opening on Thursday 29 October. This is a really exciting development for Cornwall’s largest town, helping to unlock St Austell’s business potential and create new jobs in these tough economic times. The RDA is proud of its involvement and we look forward to its much anticipated unveiling later this year.”

Bryan Trethewey, project manager for Sir Robert McAlpine added: “This is now the final push to get everything finished in time for the opening in October. The fantastic progress that has been made on this development is testament to the hard work and dedication of the whole construction team involved in the build programme. We would also like to thank everyone in St Austell including the local community and neighbouring businesses for their patience and understanding during the construction phase.”

Earlier this year, Sir Robert McAlpine won a Silver Considerate Constructors Scheme award for White River Place. The project was praised for achieving particularly high standards of cleanliness, safety, accountability and the company was recognised for its consideration to local people for keeping disruption to a minimum.

White River Place will include new shops, restaurants, a 550-space multi-storey car park and 70 apartments. The new four-screen White River Cinema opened in December last year and Frankie & Benny’s opened in June. Other retailers committed to the scheme include coffee shop Starbucks and fashion outlets New Look, Peacocks and Bonmarché. Up to 700 new jobs are expected to be created once White River Place is finished and open for business.