Mixed views over concerns about edge-of-town retail-park plans

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

Concerns about the impact of a proposed retail park on the edge of Alnwick sparked mixed views from readers, with some agreeing it will impact the town centre, while others believe it is exactly what is needed.

Last week, the Gazette reported comments from Alnwick Chamber of Trade chairman Carlo Biagioni, who was critical of Northumberland Estates’ plans for the development on land near to Greensfield Industrial Estate.

The scheme – yet to be approved – comprises various sized units, including space for a food store and drive-through coffee shop, along with more than 200 parking spaces. The plots are likely to be occupied by national multiple operators.

Mr Biagioni is concerned that the retail park would harm the town centre and his comments prompted a cross-section of views on our Facebook page.

Speaking against the scheme, Jean Newton wrote: ‘You don’t need an out-of-town retail complex, there are plenty already – leave Alnwick alone.’

Christine Pentleton added: ‘Fill the empty shops first in Alnwick town then think about the outskirts. Surely the empty banks and units near the bus station could house the retailers that would be interested in out-of-town developments!’

But there were also people who spoke in favour of the proposal. Paul Robinson wrote: ‘Oh dear, Alnwick does not like change. The town centre is dying already, if anything, this development will pull people into the Alnwick area as there will be more choice for consumers.’

Paul Yeadon said: ‘It’s what the town needs’, while Helen Smith added: ‘Build more and let more come to Alnwick. It’s about time Alnwick moved forward and gave people more choices, then we wouldn’t need to go elsewhere to do our shopping.’

One of the common themes during the online discussion was parking problems in the town.

Among these, Maggie Phillips wrote: ‘In my experience, it is not the retail park, but the parking that tips the balance. I never shop in towns now due to parking restrictions. So sad, but unless something is done to solve the problem, retail parks will always win out.’