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Jackson and Kier in shopping trip

CONTRACTS CAMBRIDGESHIRE

TWO FIRMS are battling it out for a £40 million project to revamp a run-down shopping centre in Cambridgeshire.

Jackson is going head to head with Kier for the deal to extend the Orton Shopping Centre in Peterborough for private development company Orton Shopping Centre LLP.

The centre was originally built in the 1970s, but has experienced many problems over the past decade with many shop closures, vandalism, graffiti and thefts.

The private firm, led by Molyneux Investments and headed by property tycoon Colin Molyneux, is hoping construction will be under way by August.

Mr Molyneux said: 'My company has three developments currently in Peterborough, we tend to specialise in retail-led schemes.

'The companies we are in talks with have a regional presence in the area. We have been assessing them over the past couple of weeks. We are now close to a contract award.'

The new development will completely revamp the existing Orton Centre, doubling f loor space.

The existing centre will be extended by 7,300 sq m to provide fewer but larger shops. Retailers such as Co-op, Specsavers, Wilkinson and Barratts are set to open new stores, while most existing occupiers will be retained in the development.

New housing will also be incorporated into the scheme, comprising 94 new and refurbished flats and maisonettes for private sale. A 400-space car park will also be built.

The project, designed by London architect Haskoll, will also see a plaza created with glass shop frontages, canopies and landscaping. Construction work is set for completion in summer 2008.