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Adventurous plans for former Coop

Published on Tuesday, 30th July 2019

A planning application has been submitted for a thrilling new venture at the former Coop building in Nuneaton.

TimeSquared Limited, the company submitting the application, hopes to bring ‘House of Escapes’, an exciting new interactive experience to premises at 22 Abbey Street, which previously served as offices for the Heart of England Cooperative Society. The dynamic team behind the new venture have a highly successful track record in this area of business, being the brains behind the former Escapism experience at Newdegate Street, which was rated on Trip Advisor as the number one attraction in Nuneaton and the number two attraction in Warwickshire.

The Coop building was purchased by the Borough Council earlier this year, with Warwickshire County Council subsequently offering a financial contribution. Work has since taken place to strip out the premises and prepare them ready for lease. A lease contract between the Council and House of Escapes has been drafted so that things can be progressed quickly if planning permission is granted.

The Company plan to rent an area of some 7,000 square feet across two upper floors of the building, allowing them to offer one of the boldest interactive experiences of its kind in the UK. Training, corporate team building, recruitment and conference facilities will also be available alongside the escape room experience.

Cllr Julie Jackson, Leader of the Council said:

“This is exactly the sort of venture we want to see in Nuneaton – if planning permission is granted, House of Escapes is set to attract visitors to the town and boost tourism in neighbouring areas.

“We have great ambitions for Nuneaton and the pace of change continues to quicken. It is fantastic that key leisure providers such as House of Escapes recognise the potential of the town and want to be part of the Transforming Nuneaton story.”

Cllr Izzi Seccombe, Leader of Warwickshire County Council said:

“It is fantastic news that Nuneaton is attracting leisure operators such as House of Escapes. The Transforming Nuneaton programme is going from strength to strength, with strategic property acquisitions such as the former Coop premises playing a key role. If planning permission is granted, this venture is set to breathe new life into the Abbey Street area and create highly attractive jobs locally in innovative, creative  sectors.”

David Betts, Creative Director of House of Escapes said:

“We previously ran an escape room in Nuneaton under the name Escapism, which was above Saints bar until the bar closed. It’s taken us three years to find suitable premises again but we're excited to be back and bringing something new and fresh to the market, as well as being part of injecting new life and vibrancy into the town centre again. On top of bringing 20 jobs to the area over a three year period, we will also be boosting the economy by bringing visitors in. When we were open in 2016, circa 80% of our bookings were from people outside Nuneaton. In the last three years, the industry has grown exponentially, moving from a niche market to becoming a recognised, popular activity. Whilst we consequently expect to see more people coming from the local area, we still expect a large proportion of people to travel from outside, as is the nature of the industry. This will bring revellers looking for a full leisure experience, including food, drink and other activities, into the town. The corporate market will also bring businesses into the area, raising the profile of Nuneaton.

“Over the next year, we will launch two brands. The first, House of Escapes, represents our leisure market and we’ll have plenty of slots available to the public for private bookings. We're creating four original escape rooms over two years, each with a completely different mission and the storyline. The first, ‘Conspiracy’, will launch this autumn and we’re really excited about seeing it up and running. We'll also be boasting team building facilities, and in mid-2020 will launch our corporate brand, TimeSquared. This will emphasise our focus on “Team Interactive imMersive Experiences”, with the “Squared” relating to the increased time benefits that come from investing in developing and strengthening your soft skills.“

Hannah Betts, Commercial Director, said

“It’s taken us three years to get here and we are thrilled to finally see the fruit of our labour. In 2016 before we were forced to close, we were already looking for premises so that we could grow and expand. At the time, there were no suitable options in Nuneaton which we were disappointed about as we wanted to be part of putting Nuneaton back on the map, bringing fresh life and changing the dynamic of the town centre. Despite humble beginnings, the great reviews we had on TripAdvisor had us ranked as number 2 in Warwickshire for Fun and Games, drawing attention to the area. We reluctantly looked further afield but despite a few attempts, were unable to find the right place. When the opportunity came up to secure the former Co-op offices as premises, we were thrilled as there was so much potential. The offices are stunning, full of character, and we will be retaining as many of the original features as possible, in particular the beautiful wood panelling. In addition, we are pleased to be linked so closely to Transforming Nuneaton, and be able to finally fulfil our desire to be part of the future of Nuneaton. Just as we’ll see our own business grow and evolve over the next few years as we develop our facilities and launch new games, we are looking forward to also seeing the landscape of the town changing as the project unfolds. We are eager to open our doors and showcase our new facilities, and can’t wait to be able to proudly show off our transformed town too!”

 

To find out more about House of Escapes’ venture please go to www.houseofescapes.co.uk.