Opus North remains “optimistic” about Skipton development

Opus North, the leading Yorkshire development and investment company, remains “extremely optimistic” about the future of its £6.5 million retail park in Skipton.

The 35,000 sq ft retail park, which is located on part of the site of the Guyson’s International factory on Keighley Road, had a recent setback when DIY giant Wickes pulled out of the development.

Andrew Duncan, managing director of Opus North, explained: “This was not a reflection of the park itself, but of the downturn in the DIY sector. Wickes’ troubles have been well-documented.

“This month it has been revealed that Travis Perkins, the owner of Wickes, has increased prices to offset soaring costs from the Brexit-hit pound as it posted a 4.5 per cent fall in half-year profits. A number of stores have closed.

“It is vital to stress that our Skipton park, which features a 100-space car park, remains an extremely attractive proposition to retailers. We are experiencing high levels of interest from a number of household names, including Pets at Home, and hope to make an announcement about new occupiers in the near future.

“This sizeable investment will bring more jobs to the area and more choice to shoppers. Work will start on site once new occupiers are signed up,” added Mr Duncan. “Available units range from 4,225 sq ft to 19,000 sq ft.”

The existing Guyson factory will be extended and improved under the plan. Its managing director, James Thompson, said the park would secure the company’s future.

He explained: “Guyson will celebrate its 80th year in business next year and with three sons now in the business we are making the transition from what our grandfather started to the fourth generation.

“A multi-million pound reinvestment generated from the retail park development will enable us create a world-leading new facility fitted with the latest manufacturing technology. This reinvestment linked with our international growth strategy will create new job opportunities and future proof our Skipton operations for years to come”

Opus North is funded by Palmer Capital the venture capital and fund manager specialising in property.

“We are very conscious of the importance of creating developments which fit in with, and serve, the community in which they are built. That is why we take tremendous trouble to ensure that our planning applications are submitted only after extensive public consultation and after a proper understanding of what a specific town needs,” he said.

The marketing agents for Skipton Retail Park are the Leeds office of global property consultancy Savills.