Concerned businesses and residents have signed a petition in protest to a proposal to build a retail park on the outskirts of Alnwick.
The petition, organised by Sally Proudlock from the town centre’s House and Home shop, collected 170 signatures, in opposition to Northumberland Estates’ development plans for land south of Greensfield Industrial Estate.
The scheme, lodged with the county council last year, is expected to create around 90 jobs.
It includes a food store, a smaller unit for food and/or non-food retail unit, an additional non-food retail floor space, likely to be sub-divided into three separate units, a drive-through coffee shop and around 226 car-parking spaces.
But the plans have divided opinion. Philip Angier, chairman of Local Living and part of Alnwick Chamber of Trade (ACT), said: “After consulting members at ACT’s recent AGM, it was evident that there were strong concerns about this proposed development. So we invited members to sign individual letters of objection or to subscribe to an online petition.
“In just a few days – and despite the snow – the petition attracted 170 signatures, while 27 local business owners and residents have also voiced their objection in individual letters.
“Members want to see the town develop and prosper, but we have many concerns about the impact on the town centre of a development such as that proposed. There are vacant units in the centre of town which can and should be filled first.”
The letters of objection and the petition were delivered to County Hall on Monday.
Alnwick Civic Society has also lodged an objection.
Lichfields – which is handling the application – said the proposed food store ‘would complement, rather than directly compete, with the majority of existing town-centre provision’.
Colin Barnes, of the Estates, added: “There is always resistance to change but our feedback has been positive and most people who responded to the consultation were keen to see improved shopping facilities. We saw similar reactions to Sainsbury’s and Aldi, but they are popular and the town centre performs well.”
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