First unveiled in July, the bid for the major development on land south of Greensfield Industrial Estate and to the south-west of Willowburn Avenue was submitted to the local authority earlier this month.
The proposed scheme includes a food store of 1,039 sq m gross floor space at ground-floor level, with a mezzanine of 498 sq m gross; a smaller unit for food and/or non-food retail, comprising 352 sq m in total; an additional 1,872 sq m gross non-food retail floor space, likely to be sub-divided into three separate units; a drive-through coffee-shop of 166 sq m gross floor space; and car parking – approximately 226 spaces in total.
Access to the new development is proposed from Taylor Drive, while the redundant access road from Willowburn Avenue (historically the access to Arcinova) would be closed and landscaped.
A new left-in-only access off Willowburn Avenue would also be introduced, together with improvements for pedestrians and cyclists.
There is no information at this stage as to which retailers may be taking on the units.
A planning and retail statement from Lichfields, which is handling the planning process on behalf of Northumberland Estates, says: ‘At this stage, it is not possible to confirm operators for the proposed new comparison goods retail floor space. However, the units are likely to be occupied by national multiple operators, who will compete with other operators of a similar scale and nature located elsewhere.’
Regarding the largest unit, it says that ‘it is envisaged that the proposed food store will be occupied by a high-end, premium retailer. On this basis, and given the size of the new store, it would therefore complement, rather than directly compete with, the majority of existing provision within the town centre.’
Elsewhere, it adds: ‘While interest has been expressed from a local food specialist in taking the smaller retail unit proposed, any such store would be in addition to their existing representation in the town.’
When the proposals were unveiled with the promise of around 90 jobs being created, they sparked a mixed reaction from our readers.