Filton’s recently refurbished Abbey Wood Shopping Park was officially launched yesterday (Thursday 20th March) with a spectacular opening event featuring colourful acts by Bristol-based showmakers and circus connoisseurs Cirque Bijou.
The opening event got under way at midday with an exciting show of theatrical stunts, aerial acrobatics and live music which concluded with the Chair of South Gloucestershire Council, Cllr Ian Boulton, revealing the new Abbey Wood Shopping Park logo. This was followed by a private reception for more than 50 guests from local businesses and stakeholder groups.
Throughout the day, visitors to the park continued to be entertained by stilt-walkers, acrobatic gents, bhangra band RSVP and a slack tight rope walker as well as enjoying free food tasting, competitions, in-store events and cookery demonstrations by Abbey Wood’s retailers.
The new look retail park, which has undergone a £10 million refurbishment and extension, is now home to national brands Asda, Costa Coffee, B&M, Sporting Pro, Frankie & Benny’s, Nando’s, Matalan, Pets at Home, Brantano, Next Clearance, Subway and McDonald’s.
The scheme provides over 600 jobs for the local area and over 400 of these are newly created as a direct result of the redevelopment of the shopping park.
The first collection of new stores opened last autumn and the line-up of new brands completed last month (February) as B&M and Subway opened their doors. The existing and new retailers are already reporting sales well over budgeted expectations, thanks to increased footfall at the site, which is now virtually fully let.
Ian Cody, Asset Manager at Hermes Real Estate Investment Management Limited, commented:
“We are delighted that the new Abbey Wood Shopping Park is already providing a much-needed new destination shopping area to the people of Filton as well as a strong source of employment for the local community.”
“From the previously tired and unattractive scheme, a beautiful and vibrant new shopping area has been created. It is hugely encouraging to hear that so many of our retailers are already performing well above the expected level, which shows just how great the need for a new retail offer in the local area was.”
Architects Haskoll Architects and Design have worked in close conjunction with South Gloucestershire Council to rework the existing buildings and create a modern, contemporary feel. The redevelopment of the park has included redesigning the car park and common areas to create a public realm and developing buildings to provide new community space and leisure facilities.
The former Woolworths and TJ Hughes stores have been demolished to build nine new units ranging from 1,500 sq ft – 45,251 sq ft, including the new Asda store. The canopy and facades along the Northern Terrace have also been renewed, further enhancing Abbey Wood as an attractive shopping destination. Artwork displaying a black and white scene of Filton Abbey Wood Station has also been installed to the rear of Costa and Nando’s.
A new pedestrian footbridge has been created to the rear of the new Frankie & Benny’s to improve the access from Filton Abbey Wood Station and the Ministry of Defence’s Abbey Wood site. In addition, bike racks have been installed for cyclists using the surrounding foot and cycle paths that link the site to Bristol Parkway Station, the Ministry of Defence and UWE’s Frenchay campus.
The new public piazza, around which the series of exciting new restaurants and coffee shops have opened, provides a vibrant space for the local community to meet and hold events.
The only part of the development not already let is the first floor area, above the public piazza which will create a central point for the community and has been aptly named ‘The Hub’. The owners are keen to see it occupied by a valuable community asset such as a doctor’s surgery, healthcare centre, library or post office, as part of their mission to provide local health and leisure facilities for the Filton community in the future.
Ian Cody added:
“The area is rapidly developing with new homes, businesses, the university campus and public facilities so it’s important to us that we provide a central location where people can get their groceries, take their pets to the vet, shop for clothes, homeware and come together to socialise.”
“The park has the opportunity to be a local hub and we’re keen to develop that further. The next step will be turning the community space into a doctor’s surgery, post office and library or exercise space – a place that is beneficial to nearby businesses and local residents.”
For further information on Abbey Wood Shopping Park and individual store and restaurant opening hours, visit www.abbeywoodshoppingpark.co.uk
Photo 1: Bhangra band RSVP.
Photo 2: Cllr Ian Boulton (Chair, South Gloucestershire Council) with a stilt walker.
Photo 3: Cllr Ian Boulton and Ian Cody (Asset Manager at Hermes Real Estate Investment Management Limited) in front of the centre’s new logo.