Weston-super-Mare MP John Penrose has written to Planning Inspectors to convey the town’s concerns over the planned extension of Cribbs Causeway.
The Public Inquiry into the Shopping Centre’s expansion plans was launched after John Penrose made Communities Secretary Sajid Javid aware that as much as £39million in trade could be diverted away from Weston’s economy.
Mr Penrose said: “The Council, local businesses, and many others have put in huge amounts of work to draw investment to our town and attract new visitors as part of Weston’s regeneration.
“Just last week I was speaking with optimistic businesses who are setting up in Dolphin Square, bringing with them not only employment opportunities, but fun things to do for local people and visitors.
With more families moving to Weston, we need this kind of investment to make our town a more balanced and sustainable community. Local businesses, both new and established, are telling me a bigger Cribbs will sap trade away and give outside investors a reason to second guess Weston as the place to setup shop. We can’t let that happen.”
The Public Inquiry doesn’t yet have an official date for completion, but Weston’s MP is keeping a close eye on developments.
Notes To Editors
A copy of the letter to planning inspectors can be found below:
The Planning Inspectorate
3/10b Wing, Temple Quay House
2 The Square
Bristol BS1 6PN
Dear Helen Skinner,
I’m writing to register my concerns for the Enquiry about the plans to extend The Mall shopping centre at Cribbs Causeway by a further 50%. Other local stakeholders are equally worried and, according to the Bristol Alliance (owners of the Cabot Circus shopping area in Central Bristol) the plan would divert 8.3% or £39 million from Weston at a time when we’re just completing our town centre regeneration with the opening of a new leisure and retail development (Dolphin Square) and the planned extension of our main shopping centre (The Sovereign Centre).
As I’m sure you’re aware, high streets across the country are already under a lot of pressure because of competition from online shopping and out-of-town retail developments and the opening of a massive new shopping centre down the road could make Weston’s rebirth a lot harder to achieve. Our recent progress is impressive, and is the result of many years of intense efforts by the Council, local businesses and many others (including me) to regenerate our town and attract new visitors.
As such, I urge Inspectors to consider the bigger picture; the harm that this expansion would do to established centres near to Cribbs Causeway.