A MAJOR new retail development in Worcester should be opposed, say members of Malvern Town Council.

The Worcester Woods scheme aims to create a new £40 million shopping centre on the eastern edge of the city, close to the hospital. Major retailers including John Lewis, Marks and Spencer, Next and Sainsbury have already signed up for the project.

But at a meeting of Malvern Town Council's strategic planning committee, members vowed to oppose the scheme, fearing its impact on the town's own retail park at Malvern Link.

Coun Cynthia Palmer said: "I would not like to see the vitality of our retail park affected in any way because it's so important to the town."

Coun Pat Mewton said: "If Marks and Spencer opens up there, they'll close down the one in our retail park. At the moment people from this side of Worcester come to our retail park to do their shopping."

Councillors were also worried about the effect of Worcester Woods on the already-busy road linking Malvern and Worcester

The owner of Malvern's retail park, Consolidated Property Group, has also made a formal objection to the Worcester Woods proposal, jointly with the owners or managers of the Elgar, Blackpole and Shrub Hill retail parks in Worcester.

It says the Malvern park "is an established retail destination comprising a range of large-format retail units which serve the Malvern and Worcester area. The proposal seeks to create a new retail destination in an unsuitable location. The development would have a significant adverse impact on Worcester city centre and existing retail facilities and should be refused."

Consolidated Property has just put in a planning application for an extension to Malvern's retail park to the district council.

The two-storey extension would be alongside Boots, creating some 1,208 square metres of floor space, and 50 new car parking spaces will also be created.

The existing retail park, which dates back to the 1990s, has recently been extended twice, once with the development now occupied by Caffe Nero and Carphone Warehouse, and the second with two units on the east side of the main building.