CROWDS of shoppers were a welcome sight for businesses across the city centre when Trinity Walk finally opened its doors last week.
Market traders and shopkeepers said they were relieved the years of waiting were over as they enjoyed one of the busiest weekends they could remember.
Daivd Brambles, 50, of David’s Sweets on Teall Street, said: “It’s been brilliant. It was so nice to have passing trade and be really busy.
“It’s been a long time coming, but it has been really well done.”
Market trader, Mark Venables, of Venables Vegetables, agreed.
He said: “It’s going to make such a difference. We have struggled because of the delays and the fact that car parks were lost as a result, but now I should get some of my regulars back as well as lots of new faces. It’s going to be fantastic for Wakefield.”
The shopping centre opened last Friday, a year later than planned, because it fell victim to the recession.
Original developer, Trinity Walk Wakeﬁeld Ltd, owned by Modus and CIREF, went into administration and there were fears it might never be completed. But the project was saved by Sovereign Land, AREA Property Partners and Shepherd Construction.
They were backed by an £82m loan from Lloyds Bank Corporate Markets, as well as smaller loans from Wakefield Council of £2m, and the regional development agency, Yorkshire Forward of £7m.
Local businessman Martin Sharpe, 50, of Dream Doors on Kirkgate, said those involved deserve a medal. He said: “I was blown away by the shopping centre when I popped up there on Friday.
“I’ve already noticed more traffic coming past my shop, so it’s pointing people in this direction too.”
Mr Sharpe previously owned a business on Brooke Street, which was badly affected by the building work. He added: “It didn’t stop me opening my new business here because I could see the potential in Wakefield with all the regeneration that’s going on.”
Barbara Winston, centre manager at The Ridings Shopping Centre in Wakefield, said the opening also made for a great weekend there.
“We had a great weekend in terms of both footfall and sales following the opening of Trinity Walk,” she said.
“Our car park was almost at capacity for the entire weekend and our retailers in general reported excellent trading figures.
“This buzz of retail activity is great news for the city.”
l Turn to page 22 for your views on Trinity Walk.