Hellens Group



Clearance work has begun at the former Houghton Colliery site in preparation for a new £20 million retail development.

The new site, which is being developed by North East based property and construction firm, Hellens Group in conjunction with Fintry Estates is due to open in Spring 2024.

Working closely with Sunderland City Council, Hellens Group and Fintry Estates have forward funded the development with real estate investment firm, LXi REIT. The money provided will see the development of new Tesco supermarket, which is expected to provide around 80 jobs and will cover a footprint of 4,200sqm.

In addition to Tesco, popular discount brand, Home Bargains, will also open a 1,900sqm store on the site with two sites in total expected to create around 100 new jobs for the area.

Now in its 50th year of business, Hellens Group is working on several major infrastructure projects across the North of England, including the development of Burtree Garden village in Darlington, which recently received £43 million of crucial funding from Homes England. The funding will help provide an additional 2,000 homes to the area and will be built over a 20-year period.

Gavin Cordwell-Smith, chief executive at Hellens Group said: “We are delighted to begin clearance work on the former colliery site with construction due to commence in May this year.

“As a Sunderland-based company, we are committed to supporting local regeneration projects and seeing the area benefit from multi-million pound developments. The support from Sunderland City Council has been invaluable in unlocking this particularly challenging brownfield site”

Cllr Kevin Johnson, Dynamic City Cabinet Member at Sunderland City Council, said: “The redevelopment of the former Houghton Colliery site is a project we have been working on for some time, so we’re absolutely thrilled to see work progressing on the scheme.

“As a Council, we made a commitment last year to review our procurement systems to “keep the Sunderland pound in Sunderland” whenever possible, by prioritising local spend, and in Hellens Group we have a partner which is helping us do just that.

“It’s a local business, employing local people and working with local contractors to deliver a project which, alongside the new public artwork being created by Sam and Ray Lonsdale, will be truly transformational for the local people of Houghton and we’re delighted to be supporting the project.”


Notes to Editors:

Issued on behalf of Hellens Group

Contact Josh Mason 01325 363436

About Hellens Group:

The Hellens Group, with offices in Washington, Stockton-on-Tees and Catterick, incorporates a number of property, construction, manufacturing and social enterprise businesses with interests throughout the North East, Tees Valley and Yorkshire.

The original business (John Hellens (Contracts) Ltd) was founded in 1973 to focus on the regeneration of brownfield sites; the company became leading experts in the field. Hellens Group has significantly expanded and adapted to changing market conditions, moving into sports and recreation facility construction, social housing, land and property development and investment as well as manufacturing of hard landscaping products for the building industry.



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Cllr Juliana Heron (left), Cllr Graeme Miller, Cllr Kevin Johnston, and Gavin Cordwell-Smith pictured on site
Cllr Juliana Heron (left), Cllr Graeme Miller, Cllr Kevin Johnston, and Gavin Cordwell-Smith pictured on site
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