Login Register

Ashchurch fields earmarked for retail outlet and garden centre

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: February 22, 2013

By ROBIN JENKINS

  • OUTLET CENTRE: An artist's impression of the proposed development for Ashchurch

  • DEVELOPMENT: An artist's impression of the proposed garden centre in Ashchurch

  • PROPOSED LOCATION: An aerial photograph showing where the development could be built near Tewkesbury

Comments (12)

A £30 MILLION retail outlet centre could be built near Tewkesbury, creating 1,000 jobs in the county.

Developer Robert Hitchins Ltd wants to transform the 48-acre site, just off junction 9 of the M5, into a retail outlet centre with up 70 shops offering clothing, sports and leisure gear and household items. Alongside it, there would be a garden centre which would be similar to the size of Webbs of Wychbold in Worcestershire. There would be parking spaces for 2,000 cars.

Hitchins' proposals are in the early stages but, if the plans are approved, the centre could be open in just over three years' time.

The company's property and development director, Christopher Haslam, said: "This scheme is very much in its infancy and we're keen to get local feedback before we go as far as submitting an outline planning application. The reaction to the scheme so far has been extremely positive. It would bring up to 1,000 much-needed full and part-time jobs to the area, as well as another 175 jobs during the construction phase in a challenging economic climate."

Hitchins said research showed shoppers would travel from up to an hour away, principally from the Midlands.

Mr Haslam added that an important part of the scheme would be working with local businesses and tourism bosses to ensure the proposed scheme benefited all.

He said: "The experience of outlet centres is that they bring extra trade to the area and complement the local high street. We are very keen to work with Tewkesbury to promote the retail outlet centre and the town as a joint leisure destination. We would wish to incorporate a tourist information point at the outlet centre, and provide a subsidised shuttle bus to encourage shoppers to visit the abbey, the riverside, the alleyways and Tewkesbury High Street."

A public exhibition will take place soon on a date to be announced to seek people's views.

David Bloxham, for Tewkesbury Chamber of Commerce, said: "This appears to be an exciting project which promises to bring new business and investment to the area.

"Any permitted development must, however, focus upon the needs of the town and its residents and upon bringing tangible commercial benefits to the High Street, its independent retailers and other established local businesses."

Sue Lambert, chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses in Tewkesbury, said: "Everybody's very positive about it. It's excellent news for the town in terms of jobs, investment and opportunities to market it further afield.

"I know there are issues about highways and drainage. There's work that needs to be done but assuming those things can be resolved, it should be good."

Nickie Philipson-Stow, who runs children's clothes shop The Orange Pig in Tewkesbury High Street, said: "Thousands of Chinese people go to the centre in Bicester and stay in the town for the weekend. I think it might be good for Tewkesbury."

She added it had been a missed opportunity for Tewkesbury in the 1990s when the RAM Euro outlet centre planned for the town was rejected. And she believed Hitchins' development would not contain small independent specialist shops like hers, so people would still come into the town centre to use them.

OPINION, P8

Read more from Gloucestershire Echo

Do you have something to say? Leave your comment here...

max 4000 characters

12 comments

  • tewkman  |  February 23 2013, 12:50PM

    "Its in the wrong place. The A46 and junction 9 is already too contested. When the M5 is closed due to accidents the area is grid locked. The best solution would be to build this at junction 10 and make the developer pay a major contribution to altering the junction to both ways."

    |   6
  • jas37  |  February 23 2013, 10:04AM

    This development would surely inflict considerable damage to Cheltenham Town Centre and no doubt hinder Gloucester City Centres King's Quarter development. Retail in the centre of Cheltenham depends on attracting visitors from a wide area, clearly fashion is a mainstay, this proposed out of Town scheme just off the M5 would take much of this trade away and make it more difficult for Stanhope (the King's Quarter developers) to attract Retailers to their development. Greenfield Out of Town developments are obviously far cheaper to build than City/Town centre developments such as Gloucester Quays or King's Quarter and do not bring anything than the benefits to the local economy. This scheme appears to be totally against Government Policy of encouraging and protecting Town Centre developments.

    |   3
  • safeandnice  |  February 22 2013, 6:15PM

    Checks it's not April 1st This in Ashchurch, the other side of Newtown. How is it going to attract visitors into Tewkesbury? It's too far away. If it was behind Morisons it would bring shoppers and they could walk into town. The shuttle bus isnt that to bring people out of Tewkesbury to the shopping centre? Did they really say it was a subsidised serevice to take people in? The A46 at J9 is already congested enough. Will they develop a new motorway junction to separate through traffic from how many shoppers. Matt are you having a laugh? Work with highways to reduce congestion? Is that a new department theyre going to set up? Tell it like it is. Its a new shopping development near a busy road and motorway junction.

    |   8
  • Scorpio2010  |  February 22 2013, 2:15PM

    We have lots of "retail centres" already. They are called town centres.

    |   6
  • Barry147164  |  February 22 2013, 1:26PM

    As a retailer in Tewkesbury, I would welcome this project. I can only see what good it can do for our town. My understanding is that the developers want to make this into a shopping village similar to the one in Bicester near Oxford. Apparently the town centre in Bicester is very busy and the local independent retailers have benefitted by having the Shopping village close by which is all good news for the local economy. I also believe that as there are now 3 multi million pound developments being planned in and around our town, Tewkesbury must have a lot to offer. As a town we need to support this kind of investment, let the developers and the planners do their jobs, put the correct plans into action, taking care of all the local issues and this could really put Tewkesbury on the map as a destination of choice.

    |   2
  • tewkman  |  February 22 2013, 1:24PM

    The traffic is grid locked here most days without adding more congestion. Hitchins wanted to build houses on this ground and I believe it was designated for industrial development land. Obviously there is more money in building a retail complex than large warehouses that stand empty. It's not really in Tewkesbury interest. Keep it as it is farmland!

    |   5
  • dontyaknow  |  February 22 2013, 1:16PM

    I echo what Matt says about traffic issues, so that needs to be studied and properly actioned before any development is allowed. I do not think this will largely affect Tewkesbury town centre. I imagine these shops will be selling things you don't normally find in Tewks town centre. It may though have an effect on Gloucester, Cheltenham and Worcester. If it is indoors with free parking like a smaller Cribbs Causeway then I could see it affecting the bigger towns more.

    |   3
  • disco2disco  |  February 22 2013, 12:12PM

    Why on earth would people from the midlands come to this retail centre when they have the second largest city in the UK with their retailers on their doorstop? Indeed Nibnobs RIP Tewkesbury town centre.

    |   5
  • NibNobs  |  February 22 2013, 11:19AM

    Tewkesbury town centre R.I.P

    |   5
  • geraint2010  |  February 22 2013, 10:38AM

    Better still if the park was larger - say on the scale of Cribbs Causeway - and located, not near Junction 9, but at Junction 10. Being roughly equidistant from Cheltenham, Tewkesbury and Gloucester would maximise trade and a condition for the go ahead should be that the developers pay at least half the cost of the long overdue upgrading of the motorway junction which is currently on ice.

    |   3

      YOUR COMMENTS AWAITING MODERATION

       
       

      MORE NEWS HEADLINES