'Let's rock and roll': New Skegness shopping centre brings hope to high street

Finishing touches were still being made in the early hours of the morning so traders at a new shopping centre in Skegness could welcome their first customers.

Shoppers have been eagerly waiting for the doors of the new Lumley Plaza shopping centre to open - and an arch of balloons over the entrance was the welcome sign today was the day.

For months traders have been busily putting their own unique stamp on the 26 boutique style units that line the ground floor, with their stylish wood paneled frontages and Georgian lighting.

When the Standard first visited the team behind the £400,000 project back in November at the start of the third lockdown, Lumley Road, where the Plaza is situated, had just received the blow high street giants Topshop, Burton, and Miss Selfridge were on the brink of collapse.

Carol Cripsey (left) co-owner of the Lumley Plaza, with manageress Katie Pawson outside the new shopping centre.

This was in addition to the news Ponden Home, Edinburgh Woollen Mill, Peacocks, M and Co and that Argos were also under threat.

However, the smart new front of the former Beales department store told a different story today - one of hope for better times to come.

Asa Cripsey, the man behind the new shopping centre, said he was delighted to finally be able to open.

He said: "I was still at it at 1.30am this morning with some finishing touches so we can open and there is still a lot to do.

Adrian and Lesley Small, of Skegness, said they had enjoyed a pleasant walk around and thought there is plenty of choice.

"But I think what we have achieved here is amazing and we are looking forward to welcoming all the shoppers in the town in a Covid safe way."

For one trader who has moved into the Lumley Plaza it was a massive move.

Sue Foye is well-known as the owner of Togs, when it was a basement boutique in Rutland Road.

"It is a massive move for me as I had been in Rutland Road for 31 years," she said.

Rick and Gina Franks of Skegness with Martin Cawthorn of Purrfect Paws gift shop. Rick and Gina said: 'It's great, an asset for Skegness'.

"I think if the Lumley Plaza wasn't opening I would have closed at Christmas due to Covid-19.

"It's been extremely tough for businesses and a lot of people are apprehensive as well as excited.

"I'm delighted to be here - the Plaza looks fabulous so let's rock and roll."

The first day has been a 'soft' opening of the ground floor and second floor, which features a garden centre run by the Cripsey family, a craft market and a large restaurant area, which will open next month.

Owner of Moonyean Donna Robertson, with customer Karen Shields of Skegness. Karen said: 'It looks brilliant. I can't believe what they have done with it.'

The first floor is set to open in July and more on this will be released at a later date.

Ranaie Burnett of The Shoe Studio, with customer Jan Ellis.