Plans for multi-million pound shopping centre cause a stir in village

Artist's impression of new Locks Heath centre

Artist's impression of new Locks Heath centre

Michelle Bates, WO2 Lloyd Gillingham, Noah, six, and Gunner Ryan Hancock
Pictures: Habibur Rahman

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Have your say

HUNDREDS of people turned out to view the vision for a new multi-million pound development.

The exhibition was being held by the Locks Heath shopping village’s owners NewRiver Retail to showcase plans to regenerate the centre.

The scheme includes building a leisure centre with a five-lane swimming pool, community hall, library and a larger Morrisons supermarket. It is expected to be finished by the end of 2015 and will create up to 300 jobs.

There were two plans on show, one including the existing Co-op supermarket and one without. The Co-op has another 66 years to run on its lease but will be given the option of leaving the centre when the works begin.

Residents went to the exhibition at Lockswood Community Centre to speak to the people behind the plans and to voice their opinions.

Reg Varcoe, 79, from Peters Road, said: ‘These plans have raised more questions than answers.

‘They want to provide for the larger retailers. Personally, I think they should provide for local shops. You can’t have it both ways; it won’t work. I want to see things stay as they are.’

Lynn Lewis, 57, of Coombedale, said: ‘It’s good and it’s bad. I’m not sure there is going to be enough parking with a gym and a Morrisons, and I don’t think there are enough roads coming in and out but the leisure centre is a brilliant idea.’

Nicola Street, 22, said: ‘I’m not happy about the loss of the green land. We walk our dog there every day as do a lot of other people. I’m not sure where we are supposed to go now.’

Dave Blakeway, 60, from Wildern Close, said: ‘I don’t have a problem with the plans other than the fact that the bus lane has disappeared. I like what I see, but a swimming pool and leisure centre have been spoken about before so I will believe it when I see it.’

Spokesman for NewRiver Retail, Martin Hughes said: ‘We’ve had nearly 450 people in and it’s been very lively.

‘We’ve had a lot of views which we will take on board. Next year we will go forward with the plans.

‘There’s been some ideas about how we might improve the plans which we will be looking at.’

He also said car parking and bus routes would be looked at further down the line.

The exhibition continues today at the Lockswood Community Centre, on Centre Way, from 9.30am until 3.30pm.

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