High Street shops fear shopping mall would damage Worcester city centre

Malvern Gazette: John Lewis: among the stores looking at a new retail park bid in Worcester John Lewis: among the stores looking at a new retail park bid in Worcester

PLANS for a mini Cribbs Causeway-style shopping centre on the edge of Worcester have been criticised by the city’s main retail body.

Worcester Business Improvement District (BID), which represents city centre shops, says it fears for the High Street if it goes ahead.

The group also says it is prepared to object to the development unless it gets assurances on the impact on the city.

As your Worcester News revealed on Saturday, a major developer wants to open a retail park, containing the likes of John Lewis, on Worcester Woods – acres of green fields off Newtown Road.

Adrian Field, from Worcester BID, said: “Our first interest is to protect the city centre.

“We’ve seen numerous examples around the country where an out-of-town development has affected a town or city centre, like in Margate, and to some extent we’ve seen that in Kidderminster with Weavers Wharf.

“There are businesses in the city which would feel the impact of this – even if it’s restricted to home furnishings we’d have serious concerns.

“We’d oppose it and so would businesses, we’d certainly want to know more.

“We wouldn’t want it to take people from the city centre.”The proposals are being led by Land Securities, which has been in talks with John Lewis, Next, Marks & Spencer and B&Q.

Sources suggest the city council is open minded to it, as long as the retail park sells goods not commonly available on the High Street.

Subject to a planning application being submitted and accepted, it would create about 500 jobs, with around 13 shops taking up 500,000 sq ft of floor space.

Land Securities has confirmed talks are ongoing with retailers and says it is “assessing the viability”

of the site, which is next to Worcestershire Royal Hospital.

John Lewis has refused to comment on what it calls “market speculation”.

Councillor Geoff Williams, city council deputy leader and cabinet member for economic prosperity, said: “Clearly I can’t comment on a planning application that we haven’t received, but we would always welcome new job creation and businesses who see their future in Worcester.

“We do of course have to be mindful of the need to protect the strength of the city centre."

Comments (9)

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4:45pm Tue 29 Apr 14

i-cycle says...

Well done Worcester BID.

Not only will this massive out of town development threaten the viability of the City Centre its will make it more difficult to shop without a car and add to existing congestion.
Well done Worcester BID. Not only will this massive out of town development threaten the viability of the City Centre its will make it more difficult to shop without a car and add to existing congestion. i-cycle
  • Score: 11

5:05pm Tue 29 Apr 14

brooksider says...

i-cycle wrote:
Well done Worcester BID.

Not only will this massive out of town development threaten the viability of the City Centre its will make it more difficult to shop without a car and add to existing congestion.
The retail park should also include a Public Transport hub servicing ALL parts of the City.
Not only for the retail park workers but for Hospital staff and vistors, County Hall and the workers at the PFI office blocks.
[quote][p][bold]i-cycle[/bold] wrote: Well done Worcester BID. Not only will this massive out of town development threaten the viability of the City Centre its will make it more difficult to shop without a car and add to existing congestion.[/p][/quote]The retail park should also include a Public Transport hub servicing ALL parts of the City. Not only for the retail park workers but for Hospital staff and vistors, County Hall and the workers at the PFI office blocks. brooksider
  • Score: 8

5:27pm Tue 29 Apr 14

i-cycle says...

brooksider wrote:
i-cycle wrote:
Well done Worcester BID.

Not only will this massive out of town development threaten the viability of the City Centre its will make it more difficult to shop without a car and add to existing congestion.
The retail park should also include a Public Transport hub servicing ALL parts of the City.
Not only for the retail park workers but for Hospital staff and vistors, County Hall and the workers at the PFI office blocks.
Its also well located for having cycling and walking linkages. the problem is that I suspect, as usual its beyond the whit of the County and City Councils to put in a well designed and integrated network that makes it easier to get around the City without clogging up the already over congested roads.
[quote][p][bold]brooksider[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]i-cycle[/bold] wrote: Well done Worcester BID. Not only will this massive out of town development threaten the viability of the City Centre its will make it more difficult to shop without a car and add to existing congestion.[/p][/quote]The retail park should also include a Public Transport hub servicing ALL parts of the City. Not only for the retail park workers but for Hospital staff and vistors, County Hall and the workers at the PFI office blocks.[/p][/quote]Its also well located for having cycling and walking linkages. the problem is that I suspect, as usual its beyond the whit of the County and City Councils to put in a well designed and integrated network that makes it easier to get around the City without clogging up the already over congested roads. i-cycle
  • Score: 10

6:59pm Tue 29 Apr 14

skychip says...

It will finish the City Centre, which is already struggling.
It will finish the City Centre, which is already struggling. skychip
  • Score: 12

10:33pm Tue 29 Apr 14

Hwicce says...

So basically the city centre shops don't want any competition.

Well it's thinking like that that means people go to Kidderminster, Bromsgrove, Merry Hill, Cheltenham etc.

If you want to compete with out of town, buck your ideas up, get a better range of stock, and drop your prices. Trying to create a monopoly will not work, you tried it for years and people are voting with their feet. Wise up.
So basically the city centre shops don't want any competition. Well it's thinking like that that means people go to Kidderminster, Bromsgrove, Merry Hill, Cheltenham etc. If you want to compete with out of town, buck your ideas up, get a better range of stock, and drop your prices. Trying to create a monopoly will not work, you tried it for years and people are voting with their feet. Wise up. Hwicce
  • Score: 6

10:42am Wed 30 Apr 14

liketoknow says...

for anyone with a car it's a no-brainer .do you struggle to get to grips with Worcester's medieval traffic layout, pay pounds for the privilege of parking; or do do you head for your nearest retail park where parking is free and you can get it all done in a couple of hours? I know which one I prefer.
for anyone with a car it's a no-brainer .do you struggle to get to grips with Worcester's medieval traffic layout, pay pounds for the privilege of parking; or do do you head for your nearest retail park where parking is free and you can get it all done in a couple of hours? I know which one I prefer. liketoknow
  • Score: 7

10:53am Wed 30 Apr 14

lilboo says...

Hwicce wrote:
So basically the city centre shops don't want any competition.

Well it's thinking like that that means people go to Kidderminster, Bromsgrove, Merry Hill, Cheltenham etc.

If you want to compete with out of town, buck your ideas up, get a better range of stock, and drop your prices. Trying to create a monopoly will not work, you tried it for years and people are voting with their feet. Wise up.
Hear hear! Nothing wrong with some healthy competition! Nothing very enticing in worcester city centre so far!
[quote][p][bold]Hwicce[/bold] wrote: So basically the city centre shops don't want any competition. Well it's thinking like that that means people go to Kidderminster, Bromsgrove, Merry Hill, Cheltenham etc. If you want to compete with out of town, buck your ideas up, get a better range of stock, and drop your prices. Trying to create a monopoly will not work, you tried it for years and people are voting with their feet. Wise up.[/p][/quote]Hear hear! Nothing wrong with some healthy competition! Nothing very enticing in worcester city centre so far! lilboo
  • Score: 4

12:56pm Wed 30 Apr 14

man16 says...

My understanding is that the county council still intends making cuts in the bus subsidies of about £1-2 M so the current bus services in the city and the county are going to start suffer cutbacks starting later this year. I don't see how a developer contribution through a s106 ,or whatever, is going to provide much sustainable, long term benefit for public transport.

Of course the transport assessment for the planning application will paint the usual rosy picture.

That said, I like John Lewis and Waitrose stores.
My understanding is that the county council still intends making cuts in the bus subsidies of about £1-2 M so the current bus services in the city and the county are going to start suffer cutbacks starting later this year. I don't see how a developer contribution through a s106 ,or whatever, is going to provide much sustainable, long term benefit for public transport. Of course the transport assessment for the planning application will paint the usual rosy picture. That said, I like John Lewis and Waitrose stores. man16
  • Score: 3

3:53pm Wed 30 Apr 14

Ted Elgar says...

What planning conditions are the local authority planning to put on this exactly to prevent them competing with the High Street?
Worcester is crying out for housing, not more retail.
What planning conditions are the local authority planning to put on this exactly to prevent them competing with the High Street? Worcester is crying out for housing, not more retail. Ted Elgar
  • Score: 3

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