The £20m redevelopment of the former Rocket site at Ravensworth Road, Dunston has been given boost, after lead developer Keepmoat, secured retailer Boots to take the proposed new pharmacy on the premises.
The provision of a new Boots store follows the successful delivery of a new Aldi food store, along with an older peoples’ apartment block built by Keepmoat for Vela Housing Group. The new pharmacy will also be built by Keepmoat and the contract further strengthens Keepmoat’s growth in construction outside social housing following the successful delivery of two NHS projects and appointment to the Lidl construction framework.
Construction works are now underway and it is anticipated that Boots will relocate into the new premises in September. This will then enable the final block of flats – all that remains of the 1970s Rocket scheme that once dominated Dunston, designed by architect Owen Luder– to be demolished.
Keepmoat recently secured detailed planning consent for 45 new two and three bedroom homes for sale and a pocket park, which will be developed on the site of the deck access flats upon demolition.
Ian Prescott, land and partnerships director for Keepmoat in the North East, said: “We are delighted that Boots have signed up for the new pharmacy we had planned on the site. Our introduction of Aldi to the regeneration scheme has already attracted many new shoppers to Dunston and we are sure that the new Boots premises will provide a further boost to the Ravensworth Road retail area.
“Our partnership relationship with the council is bringing a significant investment to the heart of a great local neighbourhood.”
Councillor Liz Twist, Gateshead Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing said “We are pleased to see even more progress at Ravensworth Road with the new Boots unit. This good news will help to bring about the end of Tower Court and the last of the old Rocket development. And it will lead to building of much needed family homes in the future and a revitalisation of this part of Dunston.”
Also this month, progress has been made on construction of a new doctors’ surgery immediately adjacent to the pharmacy for the nearby Glenpark Medical Practice.
It is hoped that the legal formalities for this can be finalised in the coming months with the aim that work can start later in the year. Keepmoat is now seeking an investment partner to acquire both the pharmacy and the surgery on completion.
For more information regarding Keepmoat, please visit keepmoat.com.