COUNCILLORS have rejected plans for a £32m “speculative” out of town retail development which they feared could impact on Hull city centre.
Kingswood Parks Development Ltd and Kier Property had put forward plans for a mix of retail units and cafes and restaurants, on the rapidly growing Kingswood estate, adjacent to Next’s new home, clothing and garden megastore.
However the proposals for Kingswood Parks have faced opposition from planners, as well as the owners of shopping centres in the city centre and the major projects team at Hull Council, which is investing in a major upgrade of the city centre.
It comes just as work has got underway on a £20 million redevelopment of Princes Quay, in the city centre. Next Outlet has already been secured as an anchor tenant.
A Princes Quay representative warned councillors at a meeting at Hull’s Guildhall, that allowing more retail to open on Kingswood would lead to a drop in footfall in the city centre and a “downward spiral.”
Claire Wilkinson, appearing on behalf of British Land, the owner of St Stephen’s and NewRiver, the owner of the Prospect Centre, said there were no details as to who would occupy the units and it would compete directly with the city centre.
City centre retailers “will be forced to review their investment strategies at a time when Hull is in the spotlight as 2017 City of Culture,” she said.
However Kier Property’s senior development manager Dan Hyde said the proposals would create as many as 250 jobs and would stop retail spend “leaking” to places like Beverley and York.
But planning councillors voted 11 to two to refuse planning permission.
Coun Chris Sumpton said the city centre had been “on its knees for years.” He added “We’ve been trying to give it CPR and compete with Leeds and York. We’ve started to see an upward trend. We are starting to see investment and this poses a signficant threat to further investment.
“I don’t want to see white elephants in the city.
“I don’t want Princes Quay an empty shell or the Propspect Centre. We have a commitment to try and make the city centre the best it can be.”