PLANS for a £150 million shopping centre in Worcester are set to be handed to council chiefs in October - paving the way for a radical transformation in the city's retail offer.
- The development will span 240,000 sq ft and will come with at least 12 large retail units
- Interest among big name shops is so high, more than half the units are already believed to be full
- Although the shops will not confirm it, we understand both John Lewis and Next are lining up specialised 'home and garden' stores for the site
- Land Securities, the country's biggest developer, wants to submit the planning application in October and is preparing a public consultation in September to lay the groundwork for it
As your Worcester News first revealed in April, the land in question is known as Worcester Woods, which the city council has wanted to see developed since the 1990s.
There are 11 hectares of fields owned by Spetchley Estates, and back in 2005 outline planning permission was granted for a business park on the land but it never came off after the recession hit.
Land Securities' grand plans are expected to come at a caveat that the shops on the site do not compete with the city centre.
But the developer says it wants to make Worcester a "more attractive regional destination" and believes by carefully selecting the stores it should secure planning permission.
Councillor Simon Geraghty, city council leader, said: "I'd welcome investment in the city as long as it brings more quality and adds to what Worcester has.
"A John Lewis would be great, it would be excellent for Worcester and give us something we don't currently have.
"But we must ensure the city centre is still at the heart of our retail offer - 'city centre' first is our principle so it must be capable of complimenting that."
The development will come with around 1,100 parking spaces, with the largest anchor store set to span 90,000 sq ft.
A spokesman for Land Securities said: "We will be submitting a planning application in the near future, likely to be around October time for a 240,000 sq ft out-of-town shopping centre which is currently 55 per cent in solicitors’ hands."