Gosport retail park expansion could hinder high street revamp, claims expert
PLANS to expand a popular retail park could be a final nail in the coffin for the nearby high street, it is feared.
An application for two new commercial units at Brockhurst Gate Retail Park in Heritage Way, Gosport, will go before the council next week.
But officers have recommended that the plans are refused by councillors, amid concerns about the impact an expansion would have on Gosport High Street and the prolific anti-social behaviour.
The two units would be on the south-east side of the retail park and notably smaller than the buildings currently on the site.
The units could either be shops, cafes, leisure units or beauty salons, with tanning salon Consol being a prospective tenant.
However, the proposals have been met with opposition, as experts fear the impact of expansion.
Andrew Sugden, economic development and regeneration manager at Gosport Borough Council, objected to the plans.
In his consultee comment, he said it was ‘inconceivable’ that a unit of that size could not be identified in the High Street or Stoke Road.
‘Since the original application the McDonald’s restaurant in the high street has now closed and the building remains vacant,' he added.
‘These proposed units, if consented, could also result in other high street occupiers vacating the town centre for the retail park, thus further undermining efforts to revitalise the High Street and Stoke Road.’
Concerns have also been raised about anti-social behaviour.
Staff working at the stores have previously spoken about the troubles they have faced, including The Food Warehouse being forced into lockdown by yobs.
Stuart York from Gosport Neighbourhood Police Office said: ‘This is an area from which we receive regular complaints of anti-social behaviour and other low level crimes.’
But Jesper Primdahl, director of Consol, said: ‘We believe the Brockhurst Gate location will be successful and financially viable for our business.’
A spokesman for Millngate Developments added: ‘We refute the recommendation; these are very small units and its an opportunity to create 10 full-time and part-time jobs, while attracting new businesses to Gosport.
‘Brockhurst Gate has been a great success and has brought a lot of revenue back to Gosport.’
Councillors will vote on the plans on Wednesday, January 15.