HUNDREDS of people piled into Prestatyn for the official opening of a new multi million pound retail park.
Shoppers turned out in force on Thursday for the opening of the long-awaited Nant Hall Road development and its impressive line-up of stores which has created 750 jobs.
Entertainment came in the form of live cookery demonstrations and sets from an in-store DJ, plus giveaways and help from stylists and personal shoppers.
Prestatyn Mayor Cllr Anton Sampson, was given the task of cutting the ribbon and officially opening Prestatyn Shopping Park.
He said: “It's a new chapter in Prestatyn's history. It's millions of pounds of investment which is a big deal for a small town with a small population and we hope it will be a tipping point in terms of visitor numbers and benefit to the high street.”
Cllr Sampson said the closure of Kwik Save's headquarters in 2000, resulting in the loss of hundreds of jobs, saw scores of people “move out of the area” to find employment.
Cllr Sampson said Prestatyn Shopping Park had helped create jobs in the town and the length of time taken to bring the development to fruition had been worth it.
He said: “We've worked to get the best possible deal for Prestatyn. At first it was only going to be Tesco and now we have a huge retail park.
“Patience has paid off and we have ended up with a better deal for the town which is going to benefit everybody.
“It's a great day for Prestatyn but not a good day for my debit card.”
Miss Prestatyn, Katrina Aspinall, who helped with the ribbon cutting said: “This is something that's much awaited and is tying the old and the new together.”
Bodnant Junior School teachers, community strategic managers Sian Hughes and Zoe Cywinski and pupils joined the queues.
“It's fantastic,” said Sian.
“It's a brilliant thing for the community.”
Zoe added: “It's great for the children to see and hopefully it will generate money for Prestatyn.”
Shoppers Ann King and Clare Smallman, from Prestatyn, were queuing to enter Next.
Ann said: “I'm excited about this opening - we've waited long enough.”
Clare explained having High Street names including M&S, River Island, Tesco and Next, would mean less travelling for her to other towns and cities to experience the same retail offering.
Denbighshire councillor Gareth Sandilands, for Prestatyn South West, who as well as attending the opening of Prestatyn Shopping Park planned to visit established small business owners on the High Street, said: “I'm hoping small businesses will benefit along with all of the High Street.
“It was 16 years ago when this was first mooted, we have finally got here and we need to embrace it.”
Tesco Store manager, Andrew Smith, who presented a cheque for £1,000 on behalf of Tesco to 3rd Prestatyn Scout Group, said he was aware of the weight of expectation from local people, having been involved in listening to customers and quizzing them on what they would want to see in their store.
He said: “In the first half an hour the mood has been really positive. We have had around 100 people queueing to come in.”
Welsh Government Minister for Business, Enterprise, Technology and Science, Edwina Hart, said she was “absolutely delighted” to welcome the arrival of Tesco and Prestatyn Shopping Park and hoped the investment shown by the retailers would be “built on”.