BUSINESSES are moving into a brand new parade of shops built after they were destroyed by fire two years ago.
The Orchard Shops, on Durham Lane, Eaglescliffe were destroyed in a blaze in May 2012 but the nine new shops are now nearly ready to re-open at a special event on Tuesday, September 2.
Not every unit has been filled but pharmacist Paul Burrell, who has been running his business from a nearby Portacabin, said he has been assured there is strong interest.
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A butchers will open, another food venue, a hairdressers and, it is thought, a bookies and a Sainsbury’s Local has already opened.
Mr Burrell said: “Everyone is looking forward to it. There’s been a big demand from customers. I’m told there might be a delay for the food venues while gas supply issues are sorted out, but it’s finally happening.”
Mother Fahmeeda Kousar, who said she lives round the corner, said she had been forced to drive to Yarm and Stockton for supplies that she could previously pick up in a few minutes.
She said: “It’s been a long time coming, but these shops are needed.”
Businesses destroyed in the fire included a hairdressers, an Indian takeaway, a chemist, a fish and chip shop and a bookmaker in the blaze.
More than 40 firefighters spent hours tackling the fire, believed to have started in Figaro’s pizza shop.
An investigation by Cleveland Fire Brigade and Cleveland Police concluded that the fire was started deliberately.
The Sainsbury's store at the end of the parade was able to re-open days afterwards, but the burned out remains were untouched for six months. Work to rebuild the parade began in October last year.
A public consultation was held to discuss the regeneration of the parade, which was described as "the heart of the area".
Two plans were originally put forward, one to simply replace the previous parade of shops and the other to include a much larger unit at the opposite end to the Sainsbury's Local store.
Randall Orchard Construction has built the new properties for Mowden Park Estates, owners of the parade.
The nine units being developed will operate alongside Sainsbury’s. Sanderson Weatherall has marketed the shops.
Paralympian legend, Tanni Grey-Thompson, will officially open the parade and a choir from Oakwood Community Church will attend.