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15.11.2016

New look for centre will offer a fresh approach

A major revamp of Cambridge’s ageing Grafton shopping centre is pushing ahead, with scaffolding now in place next to the Fitzroy Street entrance.

As the News has reported, The Grafton’s owners Legal & General Property have unveiled an £18.5 million scheme to bring in new shops, redesign the centre’s entrances, and create “bright open spaces throughout”.

Small shops in the former Eden Hall have been moved out, so the area can be remodelled with new retail units.

Work got under way last month on the first phase of the redevelopment, which will include a new ‘double height’ entrance at Fitzroy Street, as well the replacement of floor, ceiling and wall finishes and double height shop fronts to some of the larger stores.

In the next few weeks, the second phase is due to start, involving installing a new glazed roof for the Central Mall, as well as new lighting and cladding throughout the centre.

Plans are also in hand to refurbish the Great Court, where events and exhibitions are staged, along with the creation of a new restaurant quarter.

Last month, it was announced another new retailer is moving into the centre, The Entertainer, a popular toyshop.

It will be the company’s first shop in Cambridge and it will be taking space on the ground floor.

Sports chain Decathlon has also signed up for two-storey premises in the centre.

The centre dates back to the 1980s, and while it has had extensions built since it opened, shop bosses feel it need an injection of new attractions to freshen it up.

When details of the revamp were disclosed in May this year, Tom Williams of Legal & General, said: “The idea is to retain the existing retail line-up, and where we can, bring in new retailers as well, so that the centre’s units are fully used.

“But it’s not just about shops, it’s about providing people with entertainment, and places to eat and drink as well.”

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New look for centre will offer a fresh approach