Stockton Borough Council chief executive Neil Schneider has praised the return of Barker and Stonehouse to the Borough.

Neil made the comments on a visit to the new £4.5m store being built at Teesside Shopping Park as part of the furniture retailer’s growth policy.

It’s predicted the store will bring long-term benefits for the economy of Teesside and a shopping experience with a ‘wow’ factor for customers.

Neil met Barker and Stonehouse managing director James Barker and chairman Richard Barker at the store site, and also talked to building project manager Dennis McLuckie of McLuckie Projects, the North Yorkshire-based company carrying out the construction.

The new store is creating significant work for local firms on Teesside – from design, build and fit-out to additional roles once the store opens.

Project manager Dennis said work on the site is on schedule and progressing well.

“The project is moving ahead at a good speed, and we’re on target for the opening in early 2015,” he said.

James Barker said Barker and Stonehouse is pleased with how well the build is going.

“We were delighted to show Neil around the site and talk about some of our ambitious plans for the development – we very much appreciate the enthusiasm we have received from the Council,” he said.

“The Stockton site is an excellent location, and is allowing us to raise the bar and create a top quality, uniquely inspiring environment that customers will really enjoy visiting.”

As the UK’s largest family-owned furniture retailer, Barker and Stonehouse is one of Teesside’s flagship home-grown businesses, bringing national recognition in the style and quality stakes to the area.

The firm was founded in Stockton in 1946. It has grown significantly since then and now has showcase stores in London and across the country which have drawn awards and praise from national media and architectural bodies.

Neil Schneider, said: “I am delighted to see works progressing well at the new Barker and Stonehouse site.

“The new flagship store will be a great new asset for residents and visitors and will also feature as a modern, attractive landmark on a key gateway into the Borough.”

“The progress of this regeneration and transformation of a derelict site is a credit to the hard work and ambition of all those involved – the team at Barker and Stonehouse has worked closely with our planning and technical services teams from the very onset to ensure things go smoothly. We are looking forward to welcoming such a prestigious company back into Stockton.

“There are some really promising signs of regeneration across the Borough, from major investments at Belasis and Seal Sands to the redevelopment of our town centres, new housing schemes and the exciting developments at Northshore.”