In August 2004, the EEDA (East of England Development Agency) selected Milln Gate (Beccles) Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of Millngate to redevelop a three acre site in Beccles, Suffolk for a combination of retail warehousing and industrial uses.
Following a joint application with EEDA, planning permission was granted to redevelop the site for a 26,130 sq.ft., A1 bulky goods retail store with a 10,000 sq.ft. garden centre and 10,500 sq. ft. of industrial accommodation. An agreement to lease the retail warehouse and garden centre was put in place with Focus DIY Limited. It was also agreed that the self contained industrial element comprising three units would be conveyed to Beccles Town Council to provide good quality space for local employment.
The project achieved the removal of longstanding derelict buildings on one of the principal routes into Beccles town centre. The project represents an attractive, economic and viable solution, forming a link between Morrisons to the north and the new Tesco store to the south. It is an excellent example of how much needed regeneration can be achieved by the catalyst of the high land values generated by retail based development.
In particular, the project has delivered:
a much needed DIY store which will substantially reduce travel distances
state of the art industrial units for the benefit of the local community
improved pedestrian links and a separate car park for recreation
removal of derelict and particularly unattractive buildings and the regeneration of a contaminated site.
Practical completion of the Focus unit was achieved on the 10th October 2006 and the lease completed to Focus on the 24th October 2006. The investment was then sold to K/S Beccles, a Danish investment consortium, on the 26th October 2006. The focus unit opened on the 1st November 2006 and the industrial units were handed over to Beccles Town Council in December 2006.
More recently, Focus have been replaced by B & M Stores. As shown by this picture taken in August 2019, the store is still very much fit for purpose.