Mar 2, 2017
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Hanley's Unity Walk mall gets go-ahead

Mar 2, 2017

It looks like a major UK retail development in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, is to go ahead with the plans for developer Realis Estates’ Unity Walk getting local government approval.

Hanley's Unity Walk will be built on the site of an old bus station

The proposals for the 370,000 sq ft retail and leisure complex had seen rival shopping centre giant Intu, which owns the biggest mall in Stoke-on-Trent, the Potteries Shopping Centre, objecting and raising fears of more empty stores locations in the area as well as job cuts.

The new development will see a mix of stores, restaurants, an Imax cinema, a hotel and car parking on a site that was once a bus station. M&S and Next have signed on to open stores there.

Realis said that rather than leading to more empty stores, it was “a new vision for the city” and would “bring back shoppers” who go to Manchester or Birmingham to shop.

It also touted it as a way to generate greater footfall by offering the county’s only Imax cinema and said its retail-led development aims create a “premier shopping destination” that would create over 650 new jobs.

The new mall will be a major rival to Intu on several fronts, especially as Intu opened The Hive cinema and dining area at its Potteries shopping centre in 2015. Local press reports said Intu Potteries currently provides 4,000 jobs and adds £120m to the local economy each year.

In justifying their decision allow the new development to go ahead, one councillor said the fact that the recent use of the proposed Unity Walk site had been as a car park and as a set for a zombie apocalypse film “says it all really,” local newspaper Stoke Sentinel reported.

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