SUNDERLAND is set to gain a host of new stores at Pennywell Industrial Estate, following months of planning and development.

National DIY chain Wickes will be relocating from its current base on Wessington Way to a brand new 25,000 sq ft store, featuring an ‘outdoor project centre’, service yard and 64 car parking spaces. Work on site is expected to start early February 2020, with the store set to open to the public in the Autumn.

Joining the home improvements retailer will be a new 1,315 sq metre Aldi food store, featuring onsite car and cycle parking.

A KFC restaurant recently opened on the industrial estate last year and a coffee drive through is expected to complete the development in a few months’ time.

The store openings have created a raft of new jobs, including between 25 and 30 at Aldi and 40 at KFC.

The new retail development is part of a multi-million-pound investment by UK Land Estates, the largest commercial property investment and development company in the North East.

Tim Witty, development director at UK Land Estates, said: “These new stores are another positive step in the redevelopment of this formerly derelict site – bringing new jobs and a much-needed boost to the local economy.

“UK Land Estates has worked closely with Wickes, Aldi and KFC to create a high-quality development that offers major brands to the residents in the area.

“Pennywell Industrial Estate is just one part of UK Land Estates’ extensive portfolio of land and we will continue to develop new and existing properties to meet the changing needs and demands of the market.”

A spokesperson for Wickes commented: “We’re excited to unveil plans to open our new site in Sunderland.

“Unlike our current premises which are outdated and run down, our new store will be modern, energy efficient and feature a layout much more suited to our needs. It will continue to offer local tradespeople, DIY enthusiasts and those looking to make home improvements a large product range, as well as inspirational room sets across both kitchens and bathrooms. We’ll also have a dedicated outdoor retail area, selling everything needed to complete small and large landscaping projects.

“We look forward to showing the neighbouring community our new offering and will be sharing further details closer to the launch in 2020.”

A spokesperson for Aldi commented: “We are delighted to be part of this major regeneration at Pennywell. We want to provide Sunderland with a new purpose-built food store that meets the high expectations of our customers and are excited to be part of the wider regeneration of the local area.”