£30m shopping centre could create 1,000 jobs
PLANS to build a £30 million shopping centre near Tewkesbury, creating up to 1,000 jobs, have been lodged with the borough council.
Robert Hitchins Ltd's outline planning application is for 52.8 acres of farmland at Ashchurch, near junction nine of the M5. The development site flanks both sides of the BP garage on the A46.
It would include an 8,000-sq-m garden centre and a 17,545-sq-m outlet centre offering discounted clothing, sport and leisure goods and household items, plus up to 2,000 parking spaces.
Hitchins said the clientele would be expected to come from a 60-minute drive time, principally from the Midlands. The company said the scheme would work in partnership with local businesses and tourism representatives to promote both the retail outlet and Tewkesbury town centre as a joint leisure destination.
Gents, come in to Earl's & Co and enjoy a haircut and finish, glass of whisky and a shoeshine for £18.50
Terms: Later and earlier appointments available upon request
Contact: 01242 504887
Valid until: Tuesday, December 31 2013
Hitchins bosses aim to include a tourist information point at the outlet centre and provide a subsidised shuttle bus to encourage shoppers to visit the Abbey, riverside, alleyways and Tewkesbury High Street.
The Boddington-based building company revealed its scheme in February and in March more than 250 people attended a public exhibition at Ashchurch Village Hall.
Of those who completed a questionnaire, 70 per cent were in favour of the scheme, 18 per cent were undecided and 12 per cent against.
Those with reservations touched on two main topics – traffic on the A46 and potential flooding.
At the moment, about 25,000 vehicles use the A46 each day.
Hitchins predicts that its centre would create an extra 3,200 vehicle movements per weekday, 4,500 on Saturdays and 5,750 over bank holidays.
It says the western part of the A46 would need to be widened and made a dual carriageway.
Jane Tooley, Hitchins' executive surveyor of property and development, said: "We have produced a scheme which we consider will provide a major boost to the local economy and a fantastic opportunity for Ashchurch and Tewkesbury."
Sue Lambert, chairwoman of the Federation of Small Businesses in Tewkesbury, said the investment in the area and the creation of jobs was good news.
But she had concerns about whether the development might cause traffic and flooding problems and wondered whether the town centre would benefit.