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Sunday, 05 July 2015

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New shopping arcade plan for Cockermouth will create 30 jobs

A building which became a lifeline for Cockermouth businesses after the 2009 floods could become the town’s newest shopping arcade, creating up to 30 jobs.


Tithe House, the former JobCentre, became Mitchells at Main Street after the deluge while the town got back on its feet.

Mitchells now wants to transform the vacant Station Street building, which it owns, into a permanent arcade of shops, offices and a cafe.

It has applied to Allerdale council for permission to open the complex.

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 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.

“There is a certain demand for cheaper smaller retail units with a short lease and that is the market we are targeting.

“This is another example of Mitchells supporting Cockermouth, improving the shopping experience of the public and drawing more people into the town.”

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 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 required 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 in town but without having a significant adverse impact on trade or turnover in the town.

The building became a lifeline for many town 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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