Job boost is real bonus

Colin Griffiths of Stranton Business Centre.
Colin Griffiths of Stranton Business Centre.

A BUSINESS leader has welcomed news that 70 jobs will be coming to Hartlepool.

Colin Griffiths, a consultant at the Stranton Business Centre, hailed news of TJ Hughes imminent arrival in the Middleton Grange Shopping Centre as exactly what the retail venue needed.

The Hartlepool Mail revealed yesterday that TJ Hughes was taking over a 38,000 sq ft unit near Primark.

It has signed a 10-year deal and will open in early Autumn.

It will be taking over the biggest unit in the centre which used to he occupied by Westgate. It will be the 11th UK store for the Liverpool-based retailer, which specialises in famous brands at discounted prices.

It’s arrival comes just weeks after Marks & Spencer confirmed it was moving out of the shopping centre and into the Anchor Retail Park.

Mr Griffiths welcomed TJ Hughes arrival, and said: “I am delighted because it bolsters the shopping centre and it goes towards really supporting the Vision for Hartlepool.

“News like this is part and parcel of making the whole thing work. The extra income that will be generated will be of benefit.”

He said the unit that TJ Hughes - which specialises in products for the home and fashion sector, as well as fragrance and cosmetics, technology and electricals, and employs around 700 people - was moving into was large and Mr Griffiths added: “This will do an awful lot for that corner of the shopping centre which has looked very sad.”

Yesterday, we reported how Middleton Grange bosses were working hard to bring in more businesses. Centre manager Mark Rycraft said they were considering knocking small units into bigger ones to attract the larger scale retailer.

He also said centre bosses may be the start of a number of new arrivals. Mr Rycraft revealed how the centre is bidding to attract other large-scale retailers.

He said the unit taken by TJ Hughes was the biggest in the centre and said one of the other options was to knock units together to create a bigger space for retailers.

He said he hoped TJ Hughes’ commitment would “be the catalyst for further discussions to have with other retailers”.