New shops and restaurants at Barnstaples Anchorwood Bank have taken a step forward, with building work starting today (Monday). Wessex Investors will build six retail units with Next, DFS, Chiquito plus Frankie and Bennys already agreeing and confirming terms for occupation. In a statement, it said construction would be complete by the end of March next year, with the confirmed shops and restaurants opening in early summer 2018. Tenants for the two remaining units are likely to be announced as the building work nears its end, with Wessex Investors saying it is continuing to market them. Wessex Investors managing director Andrew Pegg, said: We are very pleased to be beginning construction work on the retail and restaurant area at Anchorwood Bank today and look forward to sharing our plans for the Oliver Buildings in due course. As residents watch the site come to life after years of neglect, we hope people agree that we have created a real asset for Barnstaple, of which the local community can be proud. Wessex are currently in discussions with North Devon Council and Historic England on the approach to the Grade II-listed former Shapland and Petter factory, which is phase three of the Anchorwood Bank regeneration scheme. It said: We are looking to use as much of the existing structure as possible to create a mixed-use development. We hope to make a planning application before the end of the year. This will be preceded by an exhibition of plans to gather local community feedback. In addition to the retail units and restaurants, the Anchorwood Bank project will also see 172 homes built on the site. An update from North Devon Homes, which is delivering the houses, said infrastructure works are continuing on the site, while the build programme will commence once these are complete.