A FLAGSHIP leisure development in Northallerton has been hit by a major setback as the principal contractors can no longer fulfil their obligations on the site.

Work first started on the £17m Treadmills scheme in September 2019 to convert the town’s former Victorian prison site into a major retail, leisure and digital work hub.

Although some elements of the site are up and running, a major element is the promised boutique cinema which will now be delayed until new contractors can be found.

In a statement issued this afternoon, the body overseeing the scheme, the Central Northallerton Development Company Ltd (CNDCL) said: “We have been notified that PDR Construction, the principal contractors for the final phase of the Treadmills scheme, can no longer fulfil their obligations under the construction contract.

Darlington and Stockton Times:

The Treadmills development in Northallerton

“Urgent and positive discussions have taken place between the development partners, Hambleton District Council and Wykeland Group, to address this unexpected situation.

“We remain totally committed to delivering this important regeneration project in full and we are putting in place a process to appoint a new contractor to complete the works.

“This will inevitably involve some delay to the delivery programme, but we will do whatever we can to mitigate the impact of this interruption to construction.

“We will keep the community up to date on the progress made.”

Councillor Mark Robson, the leader of Hambleton District Council, said that while he was disappointed at the unexpected loss of the contractor, there remained a strong commitment to finish the scheme.

He said: “It is disappointing to hear the news, as it (the statement) quite rightly says we are working through a process to appoint a new contractor on site as quickly as possible.

“Obviously this sort of thing isn’t something that you can deal with overnight so there will be some weeks delay on getting workers back on site.

“Ultimately, as an authority, we are more than committed to deliver on site but people may notice over the next four to six weeks there will be very little activity on site.

Darlington and Stockton Times:

A graphic issued in 2019 showing how the overall site will look

“Whatever happens, it is our commitment at Hambleton District Council to deliver the third phase as we always said we would, to deliver that Everyman cinema.”

Cllr Robson acknowledged it was ‘a bit of a blow’ to lose the contractor at this stage but he reiterated that the scheme would be completed once another was found, albeit with an inevitable delay.

He said: “From my point of view we are committed to deliver, it is something that we had a vision for when we purchased the site.

“The cinema won’t appear quite as quickly as what we expected it to do but ultimately we will deliver.”

Darlington and Stockton Times:

File photo of work at the Treadmills site

Since elements of the site opened up, including the 2021 unveiling of the £2.3 million digital technology centre C4DI Northallerton, the development has received widespread praise.

In October last year it scooped its second prestigious industry award, winning a Game Changer accolade at the Yorkshire Property Awards 2021, with judges saying the scheme had “transformed Northallerton’s 230-year-old prison into a stunning digital workspace and retail and leisure destination”.