£32m shops plan '˜would harm city centre regeneration'

A £32m retail development on a rapidly growing estate on the northern fringe of Hull should be refused because of its 'significant adverse impact' on the city centre and other shopping areas, according to planners.

Developers say they want to boost Kingswood Parks further with their proposals for shops, cafes and restaurants and prevent people from travelling to cities like Leeds, York, and Sheffield.

They claim the plans for six retail units and four others for cafes and restaurants, on land north of Ashcombe Road, adjacent to Next’s new home, clothing and garden megastore, will create around 200 to 250 jobs.

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It will have an area of over 11,000sq m as well as a 450-space car park.

But there have been objections from the owners of shopping centres at Kingswood and in the city, as well as from the major projects team at Hull Council, which is investing in a major upgrade of the city centre.

It is hoping to regenerate run-down Albion Square, but that is dependent on attracting a private sector developer, capable of funding the project within “a reasonable timescale”.

A report to councillors who will meet next Wednesday, said: “If external investment is made away from the core areas this may have a detrimental effect on future external investment decisions and potentially destabilise the areas that the council are seeking to regenerate.”

Princes Quay Estates Ltd, owners of the Princes Quay shopping Centre as well as the owners of the Prospect Centre and St Stephens are also objecting, along with developers Wykeland and Beverley and District Chamber of Trade.

Legal and General Real Assets, owners of the Kingswood Retail Park, are also against the plans.

They state: “The proposals will divert investment and jobs away from the District Centre and the stated job numbers do not reflect net additional jobs which are likely to be minimal.”

The site is designated for employment and community facility uses and the proposals are a departure from the planning blueprint for the area, the Kingswood Area Action Plan. If agreed a final decision would have to be made by the Secretary of State.