Flintshire retail park plan would ‘damage town centre’

Reporter:

Hayley Collins

AMBITIOUS plans for a retail park on the edge of Mold will never come to fruition, according to Flintshire Council’s deputy leader.

Cllr Tony Sharps, who is also executive member for environment, branded the proposals for the Bromfield Industrial Park ‘fanciful’.

Developers hope to attract big-name stores to the development and create 100 jobs, but Cllr Sharps said the site was earmarked for industrial rather than retail use.

He said: “By its very name, this is an industrial park and has always been intended to provide work for the people of Mold.

“The applicant, through their agent Savills, have already been advised that the Unitary Development Plan does not support retail development in this location and nor does it identify the need for a new retail centre in Mold.

“The recent Town Centre Health Check Study commissioned by the council reveals the vulnerability of many of Flintshire’s town centres to competition and emphasises the need to continue to promote town centres as the principal locations for new retail development.

“This is supported by policies in the UDP and to go against the council’s plan and the Health Check evidence runs a real risk of not only damaging the vitality and viability of Mold town centre, but also setting a precedent for other towns which would be difficult to defend.”

A statement released by Savills on behalf of the applicants Spencer Holdings said:
“The applicant acknowledges that the application site is allocated for employment land uses within the development plan.  Unfortunately, despite a comprehensive marketing strategy, the two existing buildings at the application site have been vacant since 2006 and as a result have started to fall into disrepair.

“There is no demand for the existing industrial buildings at the site and accordingly, to enable the floorspace to be brought back into an economically viable use, the applicant has put forward the proposed redevelopment of the site for a retail land use (albeit restricted to the sale of bulky goods only).”

“The proposal will create 103 new employment positions at the application site and this in itself accords with the strategic objective of the development plan of protecting the land to provide employment.”

It added: “The applicant is very keen to work with the council to see how the development can be linked effectively to the town centre to promote the town as a cohesive retail destination to meet the needs of the local residents.”

See full story in the Leader

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