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Tuesday, 16 September 2014

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Thirty jobs if new Cumbrian shopping arcade gets go-ahead

An auctioneers in Cockermouth could be turned into a shopping arcade, creating 30 jobs.

Plans have been lodged with Allerdale council to transform Mitchells, on Main Street, into a complex of shops, offices and a cafe.

John Rockliffe, Mitchells director and head of its land agency, said: “If we get the go-ahead, 30 jobs will be quite a boost for the town. Before the floods it was used by the Department for Work and Pensions but there is no demand for office space there when there is no car parking.

“There is good quality office space available at Dovenby Hall and on Lamplugh Road, where there is car parking.

“We have been approached by a number of people who want to set up a business in the town but didn’t want the high prices of retail units elsewhere.”

He said there was a demand for cheaper, smaller retail units with a short lease and that was the market they were targeting.

Mark Wise, Mitchells director and auctioneer, said a diverse range of businesses would help to increase footfall and help other businesses in the town.

He said: “It will be a big boost for the town. There will be more retail space to bring in different things. It is a very good we can offer something different and bring a variety of people in.

“We have always seen that when we hold a big event, such as Woolfest or the food festival, people are very happy to come into the town so if there is more for them to see they will continue to come back on other days.

“It will help to broaden the town centre and bring people up to this end of town and increase the whole retail experience.

“The building does have constraints due to parking which does place certain restrictions on it, but this is the best way it can be utilised with those restrictions.”

Mr Rockliffe added: “We don’t see it as competition for the Main Street businesses because they are in a prime location.”

In its planning application Mitchells said it had looked at a number of empty units in Station Street, Main Street, Market Place, Market Street and Castlegate, but none had the floor space required by the company.

It said it wanted to have a high quality, modern retail facility that would increase consumer choice, improve the range of facilities and bring investment into the town without having a significant adverse impact on trade or turnover elsewhere.

The building became a lifeline for many businesses, including Cockermouth Paper Shop, Milburns Solicitors, Cockermouth Travel, The Toy Shop and Allison’s, as a temporary base when they were flooded out in 2009.

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