A shopping centre in Boston has objected to a proposed nearby development, which would create 16 new shops and 15 residential apartments on a car park in the town.
Caroline Bridge, asset manager for Capreon, which works on behalf of Factcroft, the owners of Pescod Square, has said the new ‘shopping village’ planned for the NCP car park on Red Lion Street, ‘does not reflect market conditions’ and warned the plans do not take into account ‘major changes’ to the high street over the past five years.
In an objection letter to Boston Borough Council she says the development will only relocate existing stores and ‘will not secure positive growth’ for the town.
Ms Bridge’s states: “These changes result from the increasing encroachment of internet sales on bricks and mortar retail and the consequential change in shopping patterns.”
According to applicant Texas Group PLC, the plans will ‘fill an existing void in the urban fabric of Boston and open up pedestrian links to fragmented areas of the town’.
However, Ms Bridges adds: “Should the proposed development progress it will not secure positive growth (a requirement for sustainable development) but rather a relocation of existing retail sales which will negatively impact the established retail pitch which has seen an increase in units becoming and remaining void.”
She warns that the development of ‘inappropriate retail scale progress’ could undermine the council’s economic plan.
Three further letters of objection have also been received, including from Centenery Methodist Church, who object to the alteration of their boundaries and the development’s effects on future plans such as an ‘emergency night shelter as a separate entity’.
Other objections say the retail units are too small and that the car parking is needed.
Councillors have been recommended to approve the plans when the application goes before planning on Tuesday, June 26, at 10am
Councillors are also recommended to grant listed building consent to refurbish a property on Wide Bargate and demolish part of the Methodist Church wall to replace it with a new one.
Recommending approval the council’s planning officer says: “The proposed development has the potential to substantially improve the retail offer of the town, and to improve its competitive position in relation to other local and regional centres as well as providing residential accommodation within the town centre further increasing the viability and vitality of the town centre.
“The design of the proposed development will have a positive impact on the character and appearance of the town centre, Conservation Area and listed buildings as well as strengthening its retail offer.”
It would see 36 Straight Bargate and two Wide Bargate, which are currently vacant according to the council report, demolished to create a new pedestrian route from the Centenery Methodist Church to Central Park and Strait Bargate.
A total of 19 new parking spaces would be created.
A section 106 agreement could see the applicant driver up to three units of affordable housing, either on site or through money provided to the council in order to provide the housing elsewhere.