Beverley’s Flemingate centre celebrated its first birthday today (November 4) and announced it had welcomed more than 1.5m visitors over the past 12 months.
The footfall figure was revealed as managers of the 24 big retail and leisure brands and independent operators who make up the Flemingate family gathered to celebrate the first anniversary of the fast-growing development.
Hull-based regeneration company Wykeland Group, developer and owner of the centre, said it was delighted with how strongly Flemingate had grown in its first year, with a series of retailers, restaurants and cafés joining the founding operators.
And Beverley business leaders said Flemingate had given the town a major boost as a retail and visitor destination.
Wykeland Property Director David Donkin said: “Flemingate has had an excellent first year in which the centre has developed strongly, with a series of leading retail and leisure brands coming on board to complement the opening line-up.
“We’re pleased to have recorded more than 1.5m visitors over the past year, with footfall growing consistently. In fact, last week Flemingate set a new record with more than 40,000 people coming to the centre and the numbers are sure to continue to climb in the busy shopping period running up to Christmas.
“Flemingate took a decade to deliver and is now paying dividends for Beverley and the region, creating more than 700 jobs, attracting major brands that could not previously be accommodated in the town, and introducing so many much-needed new facilities, including the Premier Inn hotel and Parkway Cinema.
“We have always seen this as a long-term legacy project and, a year in, it’s clear Flemingate is making Beverley a better place to live, work, visit and invest.”
Centre Manager Graham Tait said he wanted to thank customers for their support for the centre and all the businesses at Flemingate for working together to make the first year a success.
He added: “We’re celebrating our first anniversary on a really positive note. We feel people in Beverley and further afield are embracing Flemingate, as reflected in the growing footfall, participation in our events and activities, positive media coverage and comments on social media.
“Our footfall is growing strongly and the picture is of increased trading across the board. Every new brand that opens at Flemingate generates more footfall, customers and sales for the stores, restaurants and cafés, so we’re looking forward to a very exciting and busy shopping period in the run up to Christmas.”
Sally Iggulden, Chair of the Destination Beverley partnership and Chief Executive of Beverley Racecourse, said Flemingate had made the town a much more attractive visitor destination.
She said: “Flemingate has bedded itself into the fabric of Beverley and has become an important and must-visit part of the town.
“The mix of retail and lifestyle outlets at Flemingate is increasing all the time and bringing new and bigger brands into the town can only be a good thing.
“The addition of Premier Inn, alongside the new shops and restaurants at Flemingate, has been a massive help in drawing people from outside the area, enabling them to stay over and frequent more of the town’s attractions, especially the racecourse.
“That has a direct and significant financial benefit on Beverley because, if people stay over, they pay for accommodation and naturally spend more, because they are here for longer. Flemingate has opened up further the staycation market to Beverley and given people many more reasons to come to the town.”
Julian Minshall, Chair of the Beverley and District Chamber of Trade, said Flemingate had blended in with the historic heart of Beverley and was keeping more consumer spending within the town.
He said: “It’s great to celebrate Flemingate’s first anniversary and recognise the benefits it has brought to Beverley. Flemingate has introduced new brands and new facilities such as the college campus and Parkway Cinema, complementing the historical heart of the market town.
“We have seen the new mix in with the old, so that now Beverley really can offer something for everyone. The retail element at Flemingate is growing, footfall is increasing and the centre is hosting lots of events and activities, which all add to the vibrancy and vitality of Beverley.
“It’s also important to recognise that Beverley is a growing community, with a significant number of new homes being built or planned, and we want to ensure existing and new residents use the shops and leisure facilities within the town.
“By bringing new retail brands, restaurants and other facilities to Beverley, Flemingate really helps to keep local people spending their money in the town, as well as providing many more reasons for visitors to come here.”
The Flemingate development includes a new purpose-built campus, providing an improved location and first-rate facilities for East Riding College and contributing to a 10% increase in student recruitment at the Beverley site this year.
John Doris, Assistant Principal, Finance and Resources, said: “Moving to Flemingate has increased greatly the college’s visibility and accessibility. We have seen a significant increase in student numbers and they are all benefiting from the new facilities and enjoying the new location, with all that Flemingate has to offer on their doorstep.
“I am sure our staff and students are very much part of the centre’s success, too. On our busy days over a thousand students attend the college, no doubt adding significant footfall for retailers.
“We’re really pleased to be here, at the heart of Beverley’s learning and business community. It’s everything we could have hoped for and more.”
Flemingate has a host of major high street names such as Debenhams, H&M, River Island, Peacocks, Superdrug, toy retailer The Entertainer and Wilko as well as the multi-brand retailer Outfit, which features fashion must-haves from the likes of Topshop, Topman, Dorothy Perkins, Wallis, Miss Selfridge and Burton. These are complemented by high-quality independents – fashion store Bolo, jeweller Guest and Philips and homewares retailer Baytree Interiors.
Food and drink outlets range from Costa Coffee, Gourmet Burger Kitchen, Greggs, Patisserie Valerie, Starbucks and Subway to locally owned and managed independents Deli No. 1 and Riva Lounge.
Debenhams Manager Carrie Groves said: “Debenhams is an anchor site on the development and we have embraced many new customers who are attracted to our fashion, beauty and home offer. We are pleased with the reaction that we have had from customers.
“Debenhams at Flemingate has been a really exciting venture. We created over 50 permanent jobs and several of the team have already progressed within the company.”
The £120m Flemingate development is Beverley’s largest ever regeneration scheme. The centre’s first birthday will be marked with celebratory events this weekend when Flemingate is offering free car parking in its 500-space multi-storey car park from 8am on Saturday, November 5, until 5pm on Sunday, November 6, to encourage as many people as possible to join in with the anniversary festivities.