The Springs retail and leisure centre at Thorpe Park Leeds has reported a significant boost in footfall and trading for its occupiers, attributing the opening of the much-anticipated new East Leeds Orbital Route (ELOR) as a major influence.

The ELOR is a key part of the East Leeds Extension to create strategic growth for the city and includes major infrastructure and plans for significant new housing.

December trading figures for most stores at The Springs showed a marked increase year on year since the park first opened five years ago. However, trade increased significantly in December 2022 compared with the previous year, in some cases by more than 50%.

Since the official opening of ELOR on 22 August 2022, access to The Springs has become even easier for the local community as well as people further afield that don’t benefit from a retail and leisure offering of this scale. While the new road has created increased awareness for passing traffic, the Route has also opened a more sustainable passage for walkers and cyclists.

Rachel Vickers, senior commercial manager at Scarborough Group International, which delivered The Springs with funding partner Legal & General Capital, said: “We are delighted to report strong trading performance at The Springs. We already have a strong onsite business community of around 5,500 people as well as the local East Leeds community, but there is no doubt that the new ELOR has opened up the The Springs to a wider catchment.

“When we started phase two at Thorpe Park Leeds, a significant part of our commitment was to improve infrastructure through delivering the Manston Lane Link Road (MLLR), a new railway bridge and considerable public realm as the enabling works for ELOR. Our commitment continues as we look to progress construction of state-of-the-art business accommodation, a dedicated railway station, an adjacent industrial and logistics park, and even more green spaces. Over the next five years we anticipate that the onsite community will at least double.

“The data also suggests that retail is not dead, it is merely evolving. While online shopping continues to surge, a day out looking for inspiration and personal interaction is still an attractive proposition for consumers, particularly post-pandemic. Our growing leisure amenity and wide-open spaces with ample free parking are also a big draw.”

With footfall on the increase and further development of commercial and residential schemes in the pipeline, The Springs continues to attract strong performing brands with a healthy mix of chain operators and independent businesses. Expanding café and bar group, Loungers was the latest to announce plans to open on site.

The Springs’ unique location, in the heart of an already well-established business park gives an added edge over other out-of-town destinations and is one of the reasons why occupiers have been keen to use it as a test bed for new concepts. ODEON chose The Springs for its first purpose-built Luxe cinema in the UK and Vitruvian private dental practice launched its national training facility on site. Australian brand Elan Laser Clinics made its first UK debut at The Springs and The Range opened its first new concept store.