Council ‘confident’ of regenerating town despite loss of site

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A COUNCIL chief says he remains confident of reviving the fortunes of a troubled seaside town in spite of a major setback to its £200m development plan.

Supermarket giant Tesco delivered a huge blow to East Riding Council’s Bridlington Area Action Plan this week by abandoning plans for a new store in the resort, which would have freed its existing site for development under the AAP guidelines.

But in his first interview since the announcement, Alan Menzies, the authority’s director of planning and economic regeneration, said the rest of the plan could still be delivered and that the council was hoping to attract a new partner to deliver a retail development on the coach park in Hilderthorpe Road that had been earmarked for Tesco.

He said: “The AAP gives guidance for retail use - what type is a market-led issue, but what we want to do is go out to seek expressions of interest for that site in line with the AAP’s planned use allocation.

“We have also got the works around the Gypsey Race where we are looking to improve the environment. And as you know we have acquired 50 or so properties and we are looking to identify sites we can move on through the planning process.

“Tesco is one element of a much, much wider plan.”

He said the council was “disappointed” by Tesco’s decision, but added: “That has not lessened our determination to deliver the AAP; it just means we have to deliver it in a slightly different way.

“We are as committed to the regeneration of Bridlington as we always have been.”

However, Mr Menzies said he understood the frustration of residents after the latest setback.

“We are in a global recession, but yes I can understand local residents looking at this thinking this is taking a long time, it’s quite a complicated process, and I would agree on both counts,” he said.

“Regenerating a town centre like the one in Bridlington isn’t a quick fix. It will take a number of years to deliver and I hope we have always been clear about that. This is a complex regeneration strategy which will take a number of years to be delivered, but we are confident we will deliver the regeneration the town needs.”

He also said it was unlikely the council would seek to use compulsory purchase powers to take control of the current Tesco site. “It’s an option, but it’s not an option I think we would be looking strongly at.”