Winchester planners urged to reject M&S food store plans

Andover Advertiser: Winchester planners urged to reject M&S food store plans Winchester planners urged to reject M&S food store plans

MARKS and Spencer’s plans for a new food store in Winchester are poised to hit a major setback later this week.

Planning officers are recommending that city councillors reject plans to convert the former Hendy Ford car dealers’ base on Easton Lane, Winnall into a ‘Simply Food’ store.

A report to the planning committee on Thursday said the council has a ‘town centre first’ policy for new shops, whereas this plan is on the edge of the city.

Case officer Megan Osborn said: “The proposal could have significant adverse impact on existing, committed and planned investment, particularly in Winchester city centre.”

The officers say there are better sites available including 14 within the city centre.

The reference to planned investment in the city centre includes the Silver Hill Renaissance, a joint £130m scheme between the city council and Henderson Global Investors. The approved plans include a relocated Sainsbury’s store of a similar size to the M&S scheme.

A retail study in 2012 said there was a need for 9,000 square metres of additional space in the city centre up to 2031.

Other potential sites for food retail redevelopment are the car parks at St Peter’s, Cossack Lane, Worthy Lane and the Carfax/railway station.

The proposal would see partial demolition of the building and a revamp to create 600 square metres of sales space and a 53-space car park.

The councillors are not bound to follow the guidance and so could approve the scheme.

A M&S spokesperson said today: "We are always looking to ensure we are in the right location to best serve our customers. If the development were to go ahead a new Simply Food store at Easton Lane would complement our existing town centre store by enhancing choice and convenience and create 50 new jobs."

Local city councillor Chris Pines said he supported the plans, not least because it would provide 50-60 jobs in the hard-pressed Winnall area.

Cllr Pines also pointed out the new M&S would compete not with the city centre but with the suburban stores, Waitrose and Aldi on Stockbridge Road, Weeke.

He added: “There are already a number of retail premises along this stretch of road – Tesco, Scats, Halfords, pets at Home, Homebase – so to refuse another similar application would be perverse and likely to be overturned on appeal.”

Civic watchdogs, the City of Winchester Trust, does not object but expressed concern about chronic traffic problems on Easton Lane.

See next week's Hampshire Chronicle out on december 19 for report on the M&S decision.

Comments (5)

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12:51pm Tue 10 Dec 13

JoLovegrove says...

I think the site would be better used for a another Aldi seeing as the one on Stockbridge Road is always full to the brim with Customers....with waits on a daily basis for a Car Parking space. It is obviously very popular with it's high quality goods at incredibly cheap prices. I'd welcome another affordable shop more than I would an over priced one!!
I think the site would be better used for a another Aldi seeing as the one on Stockbridge Road is always full to the brim with Customers....with waits on a daily basis for a Car Parking space. It is obviously very popular with it's high quality goods at incredibly cheap prices. I'd welcome another affordable shop more than I would an over priced one!! JoLovegrove

2:59pm Tue 10 Dec 13

griffon says...

Winchester is suffering what most town and cities throughout the land have gone through. Drive in and out mega stores selling everything leaving city centres to the likes of shops engaged in pay day lending, gambling, charity products food. hairderessers and tanning parlours
Winchester is suffering what most town and cities throughout the land have gone through. Drive in and out mega stores selling everything leaving city centres to the likes of shops engaged in pay day lending, gambling, charity products food. hairderessers and tanning parlours griffon

10:07am Wed 11 Dec 13

800Jimbo says...

The problem with insisting supermarkets should be in the middle of town is that shoppers either go by car (in to the middle of town) or have no practical means of carrying all the bags of food away unless they happen to have a yoke with them.
The problem with insisting supermarkets should be in the middle of town is that shoppers either go by car (in to the middle of town) or have no practical means of carrying all the bags of food away unless they happen to have a yoke with them. 800Jimbo

4:45pm Wed 11 Dec 13

campfreddie says...

And what about the traffic that this store will generate? Look at what happens at Aldi and Waitrose. There's not enough parking and as a result, cars spill out onto the roads. Surely this store will attract more cars onto Easton Lane, which is grid locked for most of the day as it is. All the work that has just been done to Junction 9 to free up the roundabout will be for nothing. I expect that Hampshire County Council will be taking some money off M&S like it does with all other developments and tell us everything will be OK.
And what about the traffic that this store will generate? Look at what happens at Aldi and Waitrose. There's not enough parking and as a result, cars spill out onto the roads. Surely this store will attract more cars onto Easton Lane, which is grid locked for most of the day as it is. All the work that has just been done to Junction 9 to free up the roundabout will be for nothing. I expect that Hampshire County Council will be taking some money off M&S like it does with all other developments and tell us everything will be OK. campfreddie

10:29am Thu 12 Dec 13

Yves1977 says...

Winchester city centre is thriving - very few empty shop units
Winchester city centre is thriving - very few empty shop units Yves1977

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