Screwfix set to open store at controversial business park
PUBLISHED: 12:10 04 December 2019 | UPDATED: 13:09 04 December 2019
A national retailer with hundreds of stores across the country is set to open its latest branch at a controversial new business park.
Following months of rumours, Screwfix is due to unveil a new branch at Dereham Business Hub.
The site, which is still in the process of being developed off Napier Way and Yaxham Road, was left empty when Cemex UK closed its cement factory in 2012.
Part of the land was repurposed to accommodate a Marston's pub, McDonald's and Aldi supermarket, before Breckland Council defied planning recommendations by approving the development of a business park on the remaining 3.41 acres.
As developer Norfolk Land Development Ltd continues its work, estate agent Brown and Co has now confirmed Screwfix will be the first retailer in residence.
Andrew Haigh, a divisional partner at Brown and Co, added talks were ongoing to bring more companies on board.
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"We have got one unit pre-let to Screwfix, which is taking unit number one at the site," said Mr Haigh.
"We have got another unit under offer from another trade counter operator - that is getting close to completion.
"We've also had further interest in the less prominent units from more local people."
Prior to the closure of its factory - where concrete blocks were made - Cemex had a base in Dereham for several decades and employed dozens of people at its peak.
Much of the site was unoccupied for seven years but, in March, Breckland's planning committee gave plans for Dereham Business Hub the green light in contentious circumstances.
Planning officers had recommended refusal due to the site's "oppressive" appearance and an increased risk of flooding, but the committee instead opted to focus on the prospect of 100 new jobs being created.
Despite Brown and Co confirming Screwfix will feature at the business park, the trade retailer is staying tight-lipped over its potential new store.
A spokesman said: "As we grow our store network to a target of 800 in the UK - bringing Screwfix even closer to busy tradespeople - we will announce details about each new store, including planned dates for opening, in due course."