New B&M shop could suck the life from Gloucester city centre
CHANGES to the items a new store in Gloucester can and can't sell are causing a bit of a stir.
B&M, which already has a discount shop in the former Marks & Spencer unit in Southgate Street, is set to open a larger outlet at the former MFI store in Eastern Avenue.
A planning application has been made to Gloucester City Council by B&M to change the use of the unit to enable them to sell toys, food, clothes and toiletries in addition to what is currently allowed at the site – bulky goods including paint, wallpaper, DIY products, garden and leisure products, and furniture.
Historically the city has always tried to keep a distinct difference between the shopping experience in its retail parks and the city centre in a bid to boost trade in both.
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Joann Meneaud, planning officer at the council, said: "The main issue for consideration with this application relates to retail policy and whether the variation of the condition to allow for a wider range of goods to be sold would have an unacceptable impact upon the city centre."
Julian Smith, manager of Cotter's Bar, which has been in the city for 40 years, said: "This kind of thing sucks the life from city centre.
"Why would someone come into the centre if they can go to a retail park and park for free?"
Ivan Taylor, owner of Truscott Jewellers in College Street, is welcoming the move. He said: "These units need to be filled.
"The MFI unit is huge and therefore expensive so it's good to see a sustainable business going in there.
"They are simply meeting their customer demand."
The issue will be discussed by the council's planning committee on Tuesday.