Community members back Ashchurch retail outlet and garden centre scheme but have concerns over traffic and flooding
PLANS to build a £30 million retail outlet centre at Ashchurch have been welcomed by the community.
But some have qualified their support for the proposed development by saying traffic and flooding fears must be allayed.
As revealed in yesterday's Echo, Robert Hitchins Ltd wants to build a retail outlet and a garden centre on fields either side of the BP garage on the A46, close to junction nine of the M5.
Subject to the company getting planning permission, it hopes building work could begin in 2015 and the centres could be open by spring 2016.
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The development would see up to 70 shops opening and up to 1,000 full and part-time jobs being created.
Another 175 temporary construction jobs would also be created.
Mary Ball's Newton Farm is one of the businesses on the A46 at Ashchurch likely to be affected by the development.
She said: "I think it's wonderful and the area needs it.
"It's a fantastic development for Tewkesbury – good for business and creating jobs too."
The development would be a short walk from Ashchurch Railway Station and campaigners hoping to increase usage of the facility believe it could work in their favour.
John Stretton, of the Ashchurch, Tewkesbury and District Rail Promotion Group, said: "It could be a positive influence on the station and public transport, helping to reduce greenhouse gases through decreasing the use of cars."
County councillor for the area Gordon Shurmer (C, Ashchurch, Cleeve and Oxenton Hill) said: "This is an innovative proposal which potentially could create employment for many people.
"I will be keen to hear the views of the Highways Agency in relation to the traffic management proposals as the A46 is running at capacity at peak times now."
Angela Brown, chairman of Ashchurch Rural Parish Council, backed the plans generally but also had fears about how the A46 would cope with extra traffic. "It's at capacity at the moment," she said.
Dave Witts, of the Severn and Avon Valley Combined Flood Group, said the scheme seemed "excellent" but he had concerns about its possible impact on flooding.
The nearby Tirle Brook would need to be enhanced to allow it to take run-off from the development, he said.