Ceremonial start for Arla site
Plans for shopping and leisure complex will create a ‘new high street'
A GROUND-breaking ceremony to mark the official start of a £25.8million redevelopment of the former Arla Foods site in South Ruislip has taken place.
Developer Citygrove intends to build a shopping and leisure complex, with a new cinema and supermarket, at the site.
Supporters say the ambitious plans will create a ‘new town centre’ for South Ruislip.
“It’s an exciting time for the area,” said ward councillor Allan Kauffman. “It’ll bring a town centre to South Ruislip rather than just a small parade of shops.
“That’s not to say a small parade of shops is not important, they are. They’ll remain and they’ll still trade because they’re niche shops that won’t be affected by this.
“The site was just left to rot, so it’s lovely to have it new and revitalised.”
The former Arla Foods site has been derelict for more than a decade and its redevelopment was delayed even further when Sainsbury’s sought a judicial review to halt plans for a rival store at the site.
But the High Court dismissed the action, leaving the way clear for Citygrove to forge ahead.
The construction work is expected to take 60 weeks and will be carried out by Simons.
The development includes a new Asda store and petrol station, an 11 screen cinema and five restaurants, creating more than 150 jobs for construction operatives and 500 full and part time jobs upon completion.
Tom Robinson, chief executive of Simons Construction Ltd, said: “It’s the first project we’ve done with Citygrove, so we’re delighted to be working for a new customer on such a high profile scheme for the residents of South Ruislip, who I understand, are delighted with the prospect of having this kind of facility here as well.
“It’s great opportunity for an organisation like ours to deliver on customer promises and we’re keen to give the best outcome
a for local residents and the customer we’re working for and we take a lot of pride in that.”
Citygrove chairman Toby Baines said residents can expect a grand opening at around Easter 2017.
Speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony on December 2, he said: “By the summer, you’ll see the buildings and all the steel will be up. They go up very quickly and we’re hoping to finish this time next year.
“Then there’s a three month period to fit all the units out and we’ll be looking at a big opening during Easter 2017.
“It’s really good and exciting and there’s no stopping us now.”
Although the scheme has been warmly welcomed by most South Ruislip residents, concerns were previously raised over increased traffic once the site is up and running.
Cllr Judy Kelly, ward councillor for South Ruislip, said: “Ten years ago Allan and I sat down, and as Champion of the Arts, I said ‘we’ve got to have more than just houses and shops, we want a cinema’, and I am so so pleased that we’ve got that because that gives life and purpose to the whole project.
“It’s not just another out of town shopping centre – this is more.
“If this site was all residential, the traffic from it would just be adding to the current rush hour traffic.
“Actually, having a retail site helps to spread the traffic out, so having that mix it’s better as far as traffic is concerned.”
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n WORK STARTS: Councillors and staff from the development team begin Work. From left, Guy Woodward, Kevin Lake,Toby Baines, Neil Cowburn, Tom Robinson, Cllr Allan Kauffman, John Hallam, Cllr Judy Kelly, Sid Jackson, George Hardcastle, Ceri Evans, Simon Nabarro, Stuart Sydel, Andrew Rennie, Georgina Russell, Steven Rafferty, Damon Sheehan, Lavinia Kortlang and Liam King
n VISION: An artist's impression of how the Arla development will look