£30m transformation of Williams & Griffin store in Colchester remains on track

An artist's impression of the revised plans for the Williams & Griffin store in Colchester, includin

An artist's impression of the revised plans for the Williams & Griffin store in Colchester, including the 1920s frontage (far right) which is now to be retained. - Credit: Archant

More of the historic frontage of the Williams & Griffin department store in Colchester is to be retained under a £30million redevelopment project currently in progress.

Work is well underway on this planned �30m development on Williams & Griffin, the type of investment

Work is well underway on this planned �30m development on Williams & Griffin, the type of investment town centre businesses fear will not be forthcoming if Tollgate Village gets the go-ahead. - Credit: Archant

Additional work will also be required on another part of the existing store which always featured in the planned new look, but the overall scheme is said to remain on schedule for completion in a year’s time.

A number of oak beams within the Tudor-style section of the store have been found to be in poor condition and will require substantial restoration, along with the roof and foundations.

The façade of the Tudor building will still be retained and so too – in a deviation from the original plans following discussions between architects and town planners – will that of the store’s 1920s menswear building.

A further change is that the former café is to be reinstated on the first floor of this building, operating as a Caffè Nero when it eventually reopens.


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However, despite the additional work and design changes, contractors are still on target for completion during spring next year.

The steel frame for a new building at the rear of the store has been erected, with brickwork now in progress. The link between the main store and the shoe hall is currently closed, to allow for work to create a temporary area for menswear.

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Next month, the menswear building will close, with the department moving into the temporary space in the main store and access to the shoe hall from the main store being restored.

In the autumn, the existing main store will close for redevelopment with stock being relocated to the new building. Access to the store will be via the Tudor building and shoe hall entrances off the High Street, with the opening in November of a new Handbag Courtyard creating a new front access to the store.

Carl Milton, managing director at the store, which is part of the Fenwick group, said: “Customers are being very supportive during this time of significant change.

“We are keeping them informed by email, website and updated maps to ensure they can continue to locate their favourite brands. We are looking forward to the opening of the new building in September, when customers will be able to see at first hand the quality of the new finishes and displays”

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