Shopping park plans ‘no threat to centre’

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COUNCILLORS have allayed fears over the impact on city centre trade as blueprints for a multi-million pound expansion of a shopping park on the outskirts of York have been submitted.

Developers from the Monks Cross Shopping Park Trust have confirmed that a planning application for a £25m revamp of the retail district on the edge of the city has been sent to York Council in a scheme which will create scores of new jobs.

The application sets out the plans to relocate existing Marks & Spencer and Next stores to another development site at Monks Cross which will see a £90m shopping centre and a 6,000-seater community stadium built. The separate scheme overseen by Wetherby-based Oakgate was approved by the council in May last year, but it provoked a wave of controversy amid concerns city centre trade would be undermined.

But the leader of the council’s Liberal Democrats group, Coun Carol Runciman, who is a local ward member, told the Yorkshire Post that she supported the new planning application as the re-development of the existing retail site would create job opportunities and help boost the city’s economy.

She said: “I would hope that the enough custom to support both the Monks Cross schemes and city centre traders. They are appealing to different markets, although I do acknowledge that only time will tell.”

If the re-development of the existing retail park is given the go-ahead, between 120 and 175 new jobs will be created and the future of more than 120 staff in existing retailers will be secured.

Under the plans, a new anchor store would be sited on the existing Marks & Spencer, Sports Direct and Laura Ashley units. A second anchor store is also proposed – but developers have not revealed the names of stores interested in moving to the centre.