Kilver Court viaduct could be re-opened in £10 million investment plan
A £10 million investment plan for Kilver Court could bring up to 250 jobs to Shepton Mallet.
The vision for the future of the historic site includes the possibility of opening up the Kilver Court viaduct as an access road to the up-market shopping village.
Owner Roger Saul, founder of the Mulberry fashion brand, opened Kilver Court gardens to the public in 2008.
With 65,000 visitors a year to the Mulberry factory shop in Shepton Mallet he saw the opportunity to develop Kilver Court as a major retail destination. The first step was the opening of the designer emporium at Kilver Court, which sells designer brands at discount prices.
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Mr Saul said: “We opened the first shops six months ago. Step two will be to bring in another six to 12 shops and we hope to open a hotel on site and more restaurants.”
At the moment there are nine shops at Kilver Court and about 30 designer brands available on site including LK Bennett, Toast and Jack Wills. The aim is to expand that to 40 shops within the next two years. Mr Saul’s vision includes opening the viaduct from the A361 as an access Road to Kilver Court.
Mr Saul added: “We have had discussions with Mendip District Council about the possibility of bringing traffic in off the Frome Road and turning the viaduct into a one-way access road to Kilver Court.
“It would require major works and would give us substantial parking.
“Our development plans will cost around £10 million of our own investment.”
Step three will be to build the last 15 to 20 units and convert Barton’s Close (two cottages) into a street - as it was originally - to connect with the Mulberry Factory Shop.
Mr Saul said: “We have created around 60 jobs already on site. My dream would be that we could help Shepton Mallet get back on its feet. It has been a great commercial market trading town throughout history.
“It will be tough on the high street for a while but everyone loves a bargain. We have looked very carefully at which brands to bring in.”
Mr Saul will be looking to expand the designer brands on offer at Kilver Court to appeal to the younger end of the market. The opening of the Jack Wills outlet on site has been very successful.
Kilver Court will be opening its new restaurant at Easter and will also be holding a “grand sale”.