Toys R Us plans to come to Cheltenham's Kingsditch Retail Park
TOYS R Us has received permission to move into Cheltenham's former MFI store.
Council bosses have agreed that toys can be sold at the unit at Kingsditch Retail Park, which has been empty for four years. This paves the way for the retail giant to move into Unit One.
Cheltenham Borough Council agreed to lift the restrictions on what can be sold from the unit, which was occupied by furniture store MFI until 2008. Permission has been granted subject to a number of conditions being met and the company will now have a five-year window to take advantage and establish a presence in the town.
A letter submitted to the council on behalf of Toys R Us in support of changing the rules said "the company has confirmed its desire to occupy the unit as soon as practicable in order to complement the company's existing store in Gloucester".
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John Forward, the manager of the Regent Arcade in Cheltenham town centre, said: "There are very, very few major toy retailers in town these days and I think adding Toys R Us in the town would be great.
"The more retailers that we can bring into Cheltenham has to be beneficial.
"Clearly they could not come into the town centre but there are very few toy retailers in the town, or even in the Cheltenham area.
"Really, there is very little in the toy market.
"The odd shop is doing puzzles and things but as a pure toy shop, there are very few.
"Quite honestly, with Toys R Us coming to the Cheltenham area, it can only be beneficial.
"I think it is great that we are getting other retailers coming in to this town that do not already have a presence here."
Ian Crohill, a senior planning officer at Cheltenham Borough Council, said the authority agreed to extend the unit's existing conditions after an independent retail planning advisor suggested selling toys at the site would have 'minimal, if any' effect on town centre retailers.
He said: "Kingsditch Retail Park is subject to a general planning condition which limits the type of goods that can be sold so that the retail units do not have an adverse effect on the town centre's vitality and viability.
"Toys R Us has applied to have the condition extended to enable it to sell toys at the former MFI store which has been vacant since 2008.
"We consulted an independent retail planning adviser who concluded that selling toys from this site would have minimal, if any, effect on the town centre and for this reason we have approved the change to conditions."
Toys R Us was unavailable to comment before the Echo went to press.