Twenty years ago, it was a centre of manufacturing.Tractor firm McCormack, Electronics firm Tyco, light bulb business Crompton Parkinsons, nylon firm Du Pont - they were all employers on Wheatley Hall Road.
But times changed. One by one, the firms closed down.
Empty industrial buildings lined the road.
Now, things are changing. Wheatley Hall Road is transforming, and it is now home to a cluster of regeneration schemes over a 2.5 mile stretch of what is one of the borough’s main routes.
Experts sayWheatley Hall Road is an established commercial location that is experiencing substantial redevelopment.
Travelling towards the Town Centre you will firstly pass the 115 acre cleared site that up until 2009 was occupied by McCormick Tractors. Harworth Estates bought the site in late 2015 out of receivership for £8.5 million and are now discussing details for a mixed use redevelopment.
Moving further along is the Wheatley Centre Retail Park – a site dedicated to ‘out of town’ shopping. Owners British Land has just completed a major programme of upgrades and improvements having recently attracted both a new Next store and Marks and Spencer food outlet. Other stores include Sports Direct, Argos, Matalan, Boots, Asda, Gala Bingo and TK Maxx.
Close by on the left is the first of the St Modwen development sites situated on part of a former factory site with a 10,000 sq ft Farmfoods Unit having already signed and a range of smaller speculative units also being developed out to join the already existing Goals Soccer Centre, Dunelm and The House Martin pub
Further still along Wheatley Hall Road on the right is St Modwen’s second site which was once occupied by a fibre manufacturer and comprises one of the largest industrial/warehouse complexes in Doncaster. The existing 250,000 sq.ft accommodation site is already home to businesses such as National Grid and BJS Storage Distribution and you can now see a new erection of steelwork to accommodate two new speculative factory units of 37,000 and 42,000 sq ft – due for completion late summer 2016.
On the neighbouring site Marrtree Developments also have steelwork in place for their 3.6 acre 47,000 sq ft development of smaller units ranging from 1500 sq.ft to 12,300 sq ft These are due to be completed early 2017.
Moving slightly further towards Doncaster town and markets, located on the right hand side is a small but prominent development plot acquired by Doncaster Council at the time of the widening of Wheatley Hall Road some years ago. This was recently sold to North Lincolnshire based company Delta Salvage who went on to develop the site as a car sales pitch and are now looking for an operator.
As you approach the town centre you will find Holmes Market where an unsightly industrial complex was demolished a few years ago and is now being redeveloped to accommodate a new Aldi store as part of the company’s drive to increase their presence in the town.
Developer St Modwen believes the developemt taking place along Wheatley Hall Road is a major show of confidence in the borough’s economy.
The firm says it is well underway with the development of the first two buildings of a new 250,000 sq ft commercial development there known as Parkside Business Park. They have just seen the completion of the erection of the main steel framework, pictured, top left, on land that was once part of the giant Du Pont site.
The first phase of the development includes two new speculative warehouses totalling almost 80,000 sq ft. They company expects them to help fill a shortage of good quality mid-size warehouse space across the region.
The development of the first phase will be completed this autumn and property consultancy CBRE is marketing the new buildings.
The development is expected to create around 150 full time jobs once fully complete. Rob Richardson, development manager at St Modwen, said: “The completion of the steel framework is a great milestone for the scheme. This is a significant speculative development undertaken without any Government or European funding and reinforces our confidence in Doncaster and the strength of the local economy.”
Jacques Esterhuizen,associate director at CBRE, which is going to be marketing the buildings said: “It is very encouraging to see the steel framework in place. St. Modwen has carefully considered the design and specification of these units and we are confident they will attract strong interest from local, regional and national occupiers.”
It is one of two schemes the firm is working on on Wheatley Hall Road.
The final phase of development at Crompton Retail Park, including a new 10,000 sq ft Farmfoods store, is also expected to be completed in 2016.
St Modwen submitted plans for redeveloping Crompton Retail Park, site of the former Tyco Electronics Factory, in May 2011 and has gone onto redevelop the site to provide retail and leisure facilities. In late 2013 a new family-friendly Marston’s public house opened at the site and in early 2014 St Modwen announced the completed a 15 year lease for the recently opened 40,000 sq ft Dunelm store.
In November 2014 St Modwen announced that it had secured planning consent for new commercial units which include a 12,000 sq ft trade counter unit and additional units for eight restarants, cafes or hot food takeway outlets.
In March 2016, the firm received consent for a new Farm Foods store and a Subway and work is now progressing on-site on three brand new units that will further increase the site’s retail and leisure offering.
There are further plans to continue developing the site and adding further retail sites.