Work is ‘progressing well’ on the redevelopment of the former Shipleys bingo hall on Alcester Street in Redditch following agreement on safe working practices with contractor Larnook.

The company is implementing a set of working protocols that follow latest government guidance, allowing it to begin stripping out the building’s interior in preparation for its remodelling.

The 32,000 sq ft block is vacant save for the popular Rilys Indian restaurant and will be revitalised with new retail and restaurant units on its two street-facing frontages.  Part of the ground floor, the rear and upstairs of the building will be converted to a new self-storage concept called StorMe.

“We’ve got an experienced team on site that can undertake the work safely, cleanly and quickly,” said Larnook managing director Chris Evans.

“Our aim now is to deliver a first class building for our client and for the people of Redditch.  When we’re done I’ll be celebrating with the team over a curry at Rilys,” he added.

Mark van Adrichem, operations director of StorMe, the building’s principal occupier, said he was delighted with progress.

“This will be the first facility for StorMe. We’ll be providing managed storage services for business, residents and the public sector in Redditch and see growing demand for this, particularly given the scale of new residential development in the town.”

StorMe has done a deal with the neighbouring Palace Theatre to improve management of the car park to the rear, ensuring better access for trucks delivering stage props and extra parking spaces for key theatre staff.

“The theatre’s success matters as it draws people to the immediate area and sustains its buzz,” said Christian Yates of StoreAway, which is advising the owners. “As a good neighbour we’re happy to help.”

In addition, Yates says that the lettings focus for the new retail units will be on offering attractive terms to independent local retailers.

“The future of the High Street after lockdown lies with independent operators.  They bring colour, variety and specialism and Redditch has an appetite for this as much as anywhere else.”