Building work will start later this year on the expansion of Trentham Estate's booming shopping village.

Dozens of jobs will be created and 26 new shops built as part of the £10 million expansion.

Plans for the extra shops were submitted three years ago.

But the building work was delayed to allow developer St Modwen to drum up interest in the units.

The development comes as record numbers of people are paying to visit the attraction's Italian Gardens.

St Modwen regional director Mike Herbert said: “There is good market interest in the units. We will start building by the end of the year and hopefully be open and trading by next summer.

“They will be similar in style to the existing shops but add to the mix of the traders we have.

“Since 2008 we have maintained a very popular shopping destination and we have never struggled to re-let any of the shops. We are looking for it to increase the popularity in the gardens and the estate."

Shoppers and traders today backed the £10 million expansion of Trentham Gardens' retail village.

Sixty-two shops and cafes are currently operating at Trentham Shopping Village.

But 26 more units will now be built by next summer to give shoppers even greater choice.

The building work will lead to the relocation of the attraction's popular ice rink this Christmas.

Shop assistant Abbey Costello, who works at Yellowstone Art Boutique, said: “The expansion will be great for attracting more business and people. As a business it's really good to be here because there is a lot of footfall from the gardens."

Bakehouse Café and Bar owner Gareth Thomas is already urging businesses to sign up for the units.

He said: “We could do with more shops here and I would encourage local independents to come here. There is a reason why a lot of people don't use town centres anymore and expansion is a no-brainer."

Shop assistant Jane Edwards, who works at Weird Fish Clothing, hopes the size of the car park will also be increased.

She said: “From a business point of view Trentham Gardens is a great place to be, it is relaxed, the customers enjoy shopping and they are very nice and pleasant."

Plans to start the building work was revealed in developer St Modwen's latest financial results.

The shopping village expansion was part of St Modwen's original masterplan for the estate in 2000.

Shoppers are calling for more 'independent, quirky' shops.

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Manufacturing operator Mandy Taplin, aged 52, of Biddulph, said: “The shopping village is very good because if you want the unusual you can get it here. We come to the shopping village every two or three months and the expansion is a good idea."

Health worker Sue Jones, aged 61, of Stoke, would like to see more clothes shops.

She said: “The place is always full, whatever day you come. All of the shops are different and if you want something different then this is the place to come.

“I would like to see a couple of good independent shoe shops and more original clothes shops."

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Retired Dave Jones, aged 61, of Stone, said: “I would like a couple of sports or outdoor sports shops, as well as a few tea rooms because the existing ones are always very busy."

Latest figures show 250,000 people paid to visit the Italian Gardens between December and May. It follows the expansion of the Totally Delicious tearoom, the ongoing restoration of the parkland, and the expansion of the play area.

Source: Stoke Sentinel 

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