Historic arcade is set for a new lease of life

Artist's impression of Kings Arcade, Doncaster.
Artist's impression of Kings Arcade, Doncaster.

Doncaster’s first historic ‘shopping mall’ that has stood derelict for more than a year is to be given a £500,000 facelift.

King’s Arcade in St Sepulchre Gate - the town’s only under-cover shopping precinct when it was built 100 years ago will be transformed into a “vibrant shopping arcade” by Doncaster developers Lazarus Properties.

Kings Arcade, Doncaster.

Kings Arcade, Doncaster.

Lazarus is planning to spend around £500,000 to create up to eight separate units for small quirky shops, a cafe and 14 residential apartments in the King’s Arcade space.

This week Lazarus also completed the purchase of the derelict Odeon Arcade in Hall Gate which was gutted in a blaze. It bought the site from the Wetherspoon’s chain, which decided not to proceed with plans for another pub in the town centre.

Glyn Smith, of Lazarus, said: “We would love to replicate the old arcade because it is currently an eyesore with lots of scaffolding holding up one of the old shops. We will need to investigate that before we know what we can do with it.” Speaking about the King’s Arcade development, Mr Smith said the firm was conscious that Doncaster should not be a “clone town” with the same high street stores.

He added: “This is where places like King’s Arcade come in and can be different to others, a shopping destination that will feature the quirky, independent traders and offer something different.”

The newly created arcade will be a ‘cut-through’ to West Laith Gate, as it was until the 1980s conversion. Mr Smith says it will be a perfect location for small traders because of its proximity to the Frenchgate Centre, interchange and Duke Street bus stops.

“A lot of small traders want premises near the Frenchgate which are a bit more affordable and this is something we want to put into Doncaster,” he added.

The ground floor of the art nouveau-style arcade formerly housed the town’s register office and was partly demolished and converted into a single store unit in the early 1980s.

But since the Poundstretcher store closed more than a year ago the unit has been empty.

Meanwhile, the £13 million leisure development Lazarus has planned for the former Odeon site that could include a gym, offices and shops, is currently on hold until funding can be found.

Mr Smith said they firm was keen to plough ahead with the development as soon as possible.