Yarmouth retail park plans axed

STEPHEN PULLINGER Three out of town shop schemes for Yarmouth were decisively rejected last night following impassioned pleas by town centre retailers.

STEPHEN PULLINGER

Three out of town shop schemes for Yarmouth were decisively rejected last night following impassioned pleas by town centre retailers.

Bruce Sturrock, chairman of the Town Centre Partnership and managing director of Yarmouth's Palmers store, warned the Borough's Development Control Committee that it was a critical time for the town centre, determining whether it regenerated or declined with more empty shops.

Accepting the need for some out of town shops, he said: “there is already an imbalance in Yarmouth with Gapton Hall representing a rival town centre.”

A spokesman for Miller Developments, the owner of Market Gates Shopping Centre, said they would have to reconsider their 18.5 million pound centre extension plans if the committee allowed more out of town shops.

She warned that flagship companies such as Mothercare were already contemplating moving out of town.

Most Read

Philip Watkins, chairman of the urban regeneration company 1st East, also spoke against the plans, reminding the committee that government policy and the council's own retail study both recommended focusing on town centre development.

He said the URC's regeneration plans for such areas as North Quay depended on developers having confidence in consistent decision making.

Applicants for the three plans - a Pasta Foods scheme for retail warehouses on its site on Pasteur Road, a Ventureforth proposal to expand the retail park in nearby Thamesfield Way and a retail scheme by Begg Nominees for part of the Perenco site in Pasteur Road - all highlighted the positive impact on employment.

The committee was also told that attracting such flagship names as PC World would help Yarmouth compete better with Norwich.

However, councillor Charles Reynolds said that a vibrant town centre was vital to attract visitors and more out of town shops could decimate' the town centre.

There was strong agreement among the councillors that they should stick to the retail study and focus on the town centre.

An application by B & Q to downsize its Yarmouth store and use part of the site for six other retail units was deferred for further discussion with the applicant.