Mixed view on retail park plans

An artists' impression of the proposed retail park.
An artists' impression of the proposed retail park.

A proposal to build a retail park on the outskirts of Alnwick has divided opinion on social media, with some saying it is exactly what the town needs, while others are against the idea.

Last week, the Gazette revealed that Northumberland Estates is behind the scheme, which could create around 90 jobs and is earmarked for land south of Greensfield Industrial Estate.

The plan has the potential to include ‘a high-quality’ foodstore, non-food retail units and smaller units for either retail or food and drink use. Around 185 parking spaces could be built, while new accesses from Willowburn Avenue and Taylor Drive are proposed.

The scheme’s unveiling has caused much discussion on the Gazette’s Facebook page. Supporters say that it would help keep shoppers in the area and create jobs, but critics believe that money should instead be invested in the high street and fear it will damage the town.

Among the positive comments, Paul Yeadon wrote: ‘Great news for Alnwick, moving with the times’, while Will Richardson posted: ‘Great idea. We need more jobs and better shops.’

Tracey B Vint added: ‘This can only be a good thing! More choice and job opportunities. It will encourage more people to shop in Alnwick which I’m sure will be good for the small business owners too. More footfall equals more potential sales.’

Victoria Gibbons described it as a step in the right direction, while Rebecka Weidner said: ‘I love it! It has to happen with the amount of people moving to the area. Alnwick needs this.’

However, the scheme has also sparked negative comments.

Alex Raynor said: ‘For pities sakes, stop! Alnwick is becoming more and more like Tyneside’, while Sue Hamblett posted: ‘Why are they intent on ruining Alnwick’. Angela Savage added: ‘No! Invest in the town – there are too many shops closed and closing.’

Caz Rae posted: ‘I’m puzzled, with countless empty shops, even several on the ‘new’ build opposite Morrisons and it has been decided to build yet another! Shouldn’t there be more of a drive to fill what we already have?’

Elaine Godber admitted to having ‘mixed feelings’. She said: ‘Good to see more jobs but sad to see another town losing its individuality and becoming like any other in Britain.’

The proposals will go on show at a public consultation event at Alnwick Cricket Club today, between 3pm and 7pm. Those who can’t make it can view the proposals online at www.willowburnretail.co.uk

Planning and development consultancy Lichfields, which is handling the planning process on behalf of the Estates, expects to submit a planning application later in the summer.