THE first phase of the multi-million pound Treadmills leisure development has opened to the public in time for the Christmas period.

A Lidl supermarket – the retail anchor for the £17m scheme – and frozen food specialist Iceland have both opened, with a third 1,300 sq ft store unit available for occupation.

The three units benefit from a 126-space car park at the Northallerton site.

The second phase of the scheme, in the central part of the site, is well advanced and involves extensive redevelopment of the five Grade II listed former Northallerton prison buildings.

The former main cell block and the female wing will house the 7,000 sq ft Centre for Digital Innovation (C4DI) Northallerton, creating a new community of tech specialists.

The project is being led by Central Northallerton Development Company Ltd (CNDCL), a joint venture between Hambleton District Council and Yorkshire developer Wykeland Group.

Darlington and Stockton Times:

Hambleton District Council Chief Executive Justin Ives, front left, chats with Wykeland Group Managing Director Dominic Gibbons as fellow representatives of the Treadmills joint venture partners tour the former Northallerton Prison female wing

Dominic Gibbons, Wykeland managing director and a CNDCL board member, said: “We’re excited to see this major regeneration project bring this landmark site back to life.

“The opening of the first phase of the development, focused on retail, adds greatly to the choice available to shoppers in Northallerton and there is much more to come as we transform the former prison buildings.”

Jonathan Stubbs, Wykeland Developer Director and CNDCL board member, added: “The next phase is due for completion in March, despite the challenges posed by the pandemic.

"This will blend old and new – the conservation and restoration of historic buildings and the creation of hi-tech jobs with innovative digital businesses.

“These new facilities and the jobs they will create have never been more important and will be crucial to the economic development and future prosperity of Northallerton.”

As part of the development, the old hospital block is being renovated to create offices and meeting rooms with additional breakout areas on the upper floor.

The ground floor will offer up to 4,500 sq ft of space for a bar/restaurant to be developed with a selected end user.

Darlington and Stockton Times:

Wykeland Group Managing Director Dominic Gibbons, left, and Hambleton District Council Chief Executive Justin Ives in the tower of the main cell block which is being converted to house the Centre for Digital Innovation (C4DI) Northallerton community of tech specialists

The tenement block is also being converted, for potential use as a digital education facility, complementing C4DI, as well as a retail unit.

In addition, the former Governor’s House is being remodelled to accommodate a café operator on the ground floor and mixed uses on the upper floor.

Councillor Peter Wilkinson, Deputy Leader of Hambleton District Council and a CNDCL Board Member, said: “Seeing the first two shops open in this development is a major landmark for the scheme – they bring much-needed choice for our shoppers and festive cheer during this difficult time.

Graham Bell, Northallerton BID (Business Improvement District) Manager, welcomed the opening of the retail element of the development in time for the peak Christmas shopping period.

He said: “The opening of the first phase of Treadmills is wonderful news for the town. It really broadens the appeal of Northallerton and it’s brilliant to see prestige companies moving in."

Lidl has created 40 jobs with the Treadmills opening and the store is supporting the local community by giving surplus food and customer donations to a number of local charities.

Surplus food will go to Hambleton FoodShare and Breckenbrough Special School, near Thirsk, both of which are working to ensure those in need don’t go hungry.

Lidl GB’s Regional Head of Property, David Murphy, said: “We would like to thank all those who have played a part in bringing this new Lidl store to Northallerton.

“It’s great for us to be able to create more jobs and investment opportunities in the area and we are proud to serve the local community at this time.”

Yorkshire contractors are playing a leading role in the project.

Leeds-based Castlehouse Construction has built phase one, while the phase two works are due to be completed by Northallerton-based Moody Construction by mid-February.