Fears of further closures on Berwick high street as new retail park opens

Fresh concerns have been raised for the health of Berwick’s high street amid fears that Home Bargains is set to close.
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The discount retailer is opening a unit on the new Loaning Meadows Retail Park on the northern outskirts of the town, casting doubt on the future of its Marygate store.

Home Bargains took on the prime site once occupied by Woolworths in 2009 and its closure would spark further concerns for the future of the struggling high street.

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These were raised by Berwick Chamber of Trade when planning permission for the new retail park was granted to the Berwick Corporation (Freemen) Trustees in August 2018.

Home Bargains in Berwick.Home Bargains in Berwick.
Home Bargains in Berwick.

Berwick Chamber of Trade chairman Stephen Scott, said: "Berwick Chamber of Trade have always believed and stated at the time of the planning application that it was almost inevitable that Home Bargains would close its store on Marygate if they opened a larger unit on the new retail park as it would not be financially sustainable to keep both running.

"During the planning process, the Chamber objected to the planning application, our argument was that the new retail park would have a detrimental impact on the town centre. Regrettably, if Home Bargains proceed as predicted, then this is the start of the detrimental impact."

Home Bargains has not been drawn on the future of the store.

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It had been scheduled to open its retail park unit on November 5 but this has been delayed until early in the new year.

A spokesperson said: “The new store on Loaning Meadows Retail Park is set to open in February 2023 and will generate around 50 new jobs for local people.

"The 30,000 sq ft store will include a garden centre, bakery and an extensive chilled and frozen section.

“We look forward to welcoming all our new customers and existing customers into our new store and showcasing our extensive range of Top Brands at Bottom Prices.

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“For information about job vacancies, please visit https://jobs.homebargains.co.uk/.”

Meanwhile, Aldi is set to open its new retail park store on Thursday, replacing the existing store on North Road.

KFC was the first to open at Loaning Meadows earlier this month.

Costa Coffee, Greggs and The Food Warehouse are also taking units.