Completed in 2005, Dereham Shopping Centre is a 110,000 sq ft site that was developed by Norwich based property company Dencora in partnership with Breckland District Council.
Orignally the site of the Gilbert Rice garage, the building had been abandoned for some years when a fire destroyed the area in June 2003. Demolition of the former garage and surrounding buildings took place shortly afterwards and this was the start of a £11million revamp to the town centre site.
Construction of the shopping centre began in March 2004. QD and Wilkinson (now Wilko) were soon secured as the two anchor stores and other stores were swiftly signed up as construction continued. Just a year after the building work began, the first store, Edinburgh Woollen Mill opened its doors for business and the other stores quickly followed.
Today the shopping centre is thriving with all of the 16 units successfully let and with additional pop-up concessions appearing on a regular basis.
- The construction of Dereham Shopping Centre used:
- 5,500 tones of concrete
- 370,000 facing bricks
- 82,500 concrete blocks
- 83,500 pantiles laid on the roofs
7th Feb 2005 – This picture was taken from outside QD, view looking west down Wright’s Walk towards Edinburgh Woollen Mill in the background. Note the feature beech wood frontage to maintain individuality of the units. Three of the units had this type of cladding, two of the units had the off-white render which you can also see and the others were plain brick. The pitched roof building to the right of the picture was soon to be demolished.
10th Feb 2005 – This picture shows the complete site nearing structural completion. The roofs on QD (foreground) & Wilko (background) were completed, the flat roof on the Wright’s Walk units was still to be laid as was the majority of the roof tiles on the front of the buildings. The car park and Wright’s Walk surfacing was also nearing completion. At this point Wilko was the only one with a completed lease, although they were still fitting out at this time. Also note the framework for the new Dereham Library in the top left of the picture.
22nd Feb 2005 – The arrival of snow at this point hindered the laying of the paviors in Wright’s Walk, hence the lack of activity. This picture is also looking west towards Edinburgh Woollen Mill, Starlings is the store on the immediate left.
24th Feb 2005 – The snow has abated two days later with work on the laying of the paviors recommencing. This is the view looking south along Chapel Walk towards Starlings . The shop on the immediate left was to become Mattressman and the tower is at the rear of the QD store and is considered a feature to encourage shoppers to use the pedestrianised entrance from Norwich Street.
27th Feb 2005 – This picture is looking east along Wright’s Walk towards QD in the left background. At this point all the construction work would have been largely completed with the surfaces being laid now that heavy plant was no longer required in the pedestrianised areas. The shop on the immediate right with the decorative window surround was Stead & Simpson at the time and is now Bon Marche.
10th March 2005 – Another picture looking west down Wright’s Walk. Half of the paviors in the pedestrianised area have now been laid and the shopfronts are being completed. The shop to the left was Gilesports which is now Shoezone with Peacocks in the white rendered building next door.
10th March 2005 – A similar view to the previous picture with the shops nearing completion. Most of the leases were in place within the next four weeks with shop fitters replacing construction workers. By early summer most of the stores were open and trading.