Cribbs Causeway development facing Government review amid fears it could ‘damage’ Weston-super-Mare
- Credit: Archant
Plans to expand Bristol’s Cribbs Causeway shopping centre which could ‘damage’ Weston-super-Mare’s economy, costing it tens of millions of pounds, have been called in for review by the Government.
The 35,000sqm expansion plans were approved by South Gloucestershire Council last year, sparking concern over the impact the development could have on other parts of the South West.
The plans include an extension of the shopping mall plus a new hotel, retail plaza and an indoor ski centre – with bosses in other parts of the region fearing Cribbs will absorb trade from other towns and cities.
Experts predict the Cribbs expansion could cause an 8.3 per cent reduction in trade in Weston by 2021, equating to £39million.
Secretary of State Sajid Javid has responded to the concern by calling the plans in for further scrutiny, handing Weston’s retail sector a potential lifeline.
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The Government’s Planning Inspectorate will hold an inquiry to examine the proposals and the arguments for and against the scheme before deciding .
Weston’s MP John Penrose, who campaigned for the plans to be called in, said an expansion of Cribbs would make Weston’s regeneration ‘harder to achieve’.
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He added: “This isn’t a final decision, but it means Weston’s voice is being heard loud and clear.
“I’m delighted the minister clearly understands the strength of local concerns about its impact on the wider local economy of places like Weston.”
Daniel Carter, chief executive of Vixcroft which owns the Sovereign Shopping Centre, said the plans would ‘suck money out of Weston and into Cribbs Causeway’.
He told the Mercury: “The development would damage the viability of retail and leisure in Weston town centre.
“It would damage Weston and its wider economic prospects.”
Mr Carter added the town could be faced with a loss of retail operators and an increase in vacant units, and applauded the campaigning efforts of Mr Penrose.
He added: “Cribbs does not need support, it’s already viable – but Weston does need help.
“Development should be directed to town centres, not out of town places like Cribbs Causeway.”