Garden centre into retail park: M&S Developers

Work is due to start next month on constructing the retail park which is set to bring Marks & Spencer and Debenhams to Scunthorpe.

Simons Developments, the firm behind the Doncaster Road scheme, has confirmed it plans to start building steel frames for the shop units from mid-February.

To coincide with the news, it has released new pictures of what the ?25 million project will look like on the former Stephen H Smith garden centre site.

The M&S?development?is also set to include Boots, Subway and Costa Coffee outlets and bosses say it is expected to create around 300 jobs.

The garden centre was demolished at the end of last year and ground works have been underway for several weeks.

The new stores are expected to open this autumn.

Colin Sargeant, project manager with Simons, said: “The next major activity for us will be starting the erection of the steel frame to form the retail units.

“This is planned to start in mid-February and will start to give all of us a three-dimensional view of what the final scheme will look like.”

Mr Sargeant said plenty of work had already been done at the site ahead of construction.

He said: “Works started in earnest at the end of November with the demolition of the old garden centre.

“This involved a number of very interesting activities including the removal of nearly 1,500 ornamental carp and some 20 birds residing in the existing pond to the rear of the garden centre.

“I’m pleased to tell you that the fish were carefully caught and transported to a new lake to the south of the area, while most of the birds have been relocated to one of Stephen Smith’s other garden centres.

“One is still on site, a domesticised Blue Swedish. We are trying to feed her in the hope that the RSPCA will be able to get to her and rehome her with the other birds.

“One of the objectives that we are very committed to is minimising the amount of waste that we generate during the construction process.

“The rubble generated by the demolition of the existing buildings is being crushed by a large machine on site.

“The material generated by this process is being reused within the foundations of the new buildings, which reduces the amount of construction materials that we have to transport into the project.

“In addition, many of the other materials in the existing buildings, such as timber and metals, have all been carefully segregated and?sent to?recycling facilities. Our aim is that zero waste from this project goes to landfill sites.

“Demolition work can create dust and noise and we have worked very hard to keep any impact to a minimum.

“We are working closely with the?environmental?health team at North Lincolnshire Council to make sure that we carefully monitor such things.”

Mr Sargeant said work is also underway on-site to strengthen the ground in readiness for the new buildings. He said: “Just before Christmas we started an activity called vibro-piling which, strengthens the existing ground so that it can take the loads from the new buildings.

“Vibro-piling involves vibrating the ground and creating stone columns which penetrate approximately four metres into the ground.

“The vibrations can sometimes be felt in adjacent properties. But we have in place a monitoring regime to make sure that this is kept to a minimum and does not exceed established criteria for this type of activity.

“The vibro-piling will be continuing throughout January and most of February.”

Simons bosses have also promised to keep residents and organisations informed on the progress of the development.

Mr Sargeant said: “These ideas include engaging with local schools and colleges in some of our activities, creating an elevated viewing area for people to see how we are progressing and looking at how we could get involved in a local community improvement project.

“All ideas and suggestions are very welcome.”

Plans for the scheme were first revealed in June 2011, after M&S closed its Scunthorpe?High Street branch?in January of that year.

Planning permission was granted by North Lincolnshire Council in December 2011 and again in March 2012 after objectors took the first steps towards a legal challenge.

The decision by the council’s planning committee was then upheld by a High Court judge following a judicial review.

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