Retail park ‘endangers city revival’

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DEVELOPERS behind a £200m regeneration of York say the scheme will have to be abandoned if a rival out-of-town retail park is built.

The bid to breathe new life into the Castle Piccadilly district would transform what has long been one of the most unattractive parts of the city.

But investors behind the plans, LaSalle UK Ventures Fund, confirmed they will pull out if a massive expansion of the Monks Cross retail park on the edge of York becomes a reality.

Graeme Chalk, an associate director from regeneration specialists, Centros, which is overseeing the Castle Piccadilly development, said the Monks Cross scheme would be “devastating” for city centre retailers, and cause shop closures and job losses.

He added: “In that environment, it would be impossible to justify the kind of major investment required to deliver a comprehensive development.”

The Monks Cross development would attract showpiece retailers including John Lewis and create a long-awaited sports stadium.

The firm behind the plans, Wetherby-based Oakgate Ltd, said the Castle Piccadilly development would not provide adequate space for retailers planned for Monks Cross. Managing director Richard France said there was “absolutely no reason” why both developments could not be built, and he maintained his scheme would provide an annual £12m boost to the local economy.