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LONDON-Hammerson will continue its expansion in the out-of-town retail market following Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott’s decision to approve plans for a 53-acre retail-led scheme at St Oswald’s Park, close to Gloucester city centre.

The scheme will include 180,000 sf of retail space and 90,000 sf of leisure space served by 1,000 car park spaces. Units are currently under offer to B&Q and Comet, accounting for 65% of the estimated retail rent roll. In addition there will be 100,000 sf of light industrial and distribution space and the scheme will incorporate 450 new homes including 150 affordable housing units.

Construction of the first phase, designed by Lyons Sleeman Hoare, will begin in the second half of 2004 with completion a year later. , Hammerson Chief Executive John Richards said “We are very pleased that the way has been paved to regenerate this important site in Gloucester. The initial interest from retailers is very encouraging.”

Gloucester will be Hammerson’s second out-of-town development following its purchase of the Grantchester portfolio last year. Earlier this year it received consent for a scheme in Merthyr Tydfil, south Wales.

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