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M&S is Coyte Farm development's 'golden carrot'

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: December 14, 2012

  • Coyte Farm

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RETAIL giant Marks & Spencer wants to open a store at the £110 million Coyte Farm development, councillors have been told.

The news was revealed at a meeting of St Austell Town Council on Tuesday night – but it didn't stop the authority objecting to the ambitious out-of-town shopping and retail park at Coyte Farm.

Simon Hoare, from Mercian Developments Ltd, the company behind Coyte Farm, said: "I'm delighted to announce that terms have been agreed with M&S, confirmed in letter on December 3.

"This is a golden opportunity for the town. M&S has confirmed to Ellandi (owners of White River Place) it won't come to White River Place, Next has said it won't come to the town centre, but they want to have a presence in St Austell. The benchmark appears to have been set by bringing in a 99p store. You're not going to get better class retailers sitting alongside a 99p store."

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Steve Double, town and Cornwall councillor, said: "Names like M&S and Next hunt in packs."

Town councillor Nick Cook described it as a "golden carrot" being dangled by Mercian.

A Marks and Spencer spokesperson confirmed their interest but said they were "interested solely in the retail park area and not in the town centre". See page 4.

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  • gemmatink  |  January 22 2013, 9:20PM

    Having attended the meeting arranged by Cornwall County Council at St Austell, on January 16 2013, it was evident that only about one speaker in six was in favour of the proposed development at Coyte Farm. I am opposed for the following reasons: 1. It is evident to all but those in denial, that out of town super markets and shopping centres have resulted in the decline of Britain's highstreets. Just last year, a beautiful green grocer's opened in St Austell, but it couldn't be sustained because one has to pay to park and there are no other retailers selling milk, butter, sugar and other basic foodstuffs to complement it. Therfore, to buy basic commodities, one has to go to a super market. 2. Emphasis should be placed on restoring St Austell Fore Street and White River Place to somewhere that normal foodstuffs can be bought, and retailers such as Next, River Island, sports shops, shoe shops, hardware stores and other specialist shops exist. 3.So much was spent on White River Place; it doesn't take to much imagination to suspect what will happen to it and the retailers of Fore Street if the Coyte Farm Development is allowed to happen. 4. There are a lot of spurious arguments for Coyte Farm Development by Simon Hoare: i. We all go to Truro because we want to shop at Sainsbury and M&S. Wrong. I go to Truro because I like the ambience of the place, the feeling that it is a proper town with small, intimate shops, good bookstores, coffee shops and a superb hardware store. ii. The retail units of the development will provide a 'counter balance' to the east side of St Austell. Doesn't that translate as 'take business from' the DIY and furniture stores from that part of town. iii. 600 jobs will be created. Not sustainable once the construction phase is over. vi. St Austell needs to rival Truro. Why? We are all in the same county, with the same aspirations and needs. Why cannot the two towns complement one another? How many counties have two competing towns with identical stores within a twenty minute drive of each other? Finally, Simon Hoare stated that Coyte Farm employs only two people - how much better, he says, to build on it and employ 600? The problem with that premise is that at some time in the future, with increasing populations and severe weather patterns, we shall need all the green spaces we have to feed 600 instead of only 2. To summarise; for the long term, Coyte Farm Development is not a good proposal. As someone at the meeting said, surely shopping isn't a way of life!

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  • jimjams2011  |  December 14 2012, 8:29PM

    I a disagree with ocdskull, i lived in broadstairs for a bit and if st austell did a place as well as westgate cross it would be perfect.

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  • jimjams2011  |  December 14 2012, 8:26PM

    We need an out of town shopping centre because nothing in cornwall is open late enough to cater for all the workers who want an opportunity to go shopping after work. I think they'll be inundated if they opened even until 8pm! (although pref 9pm like civilised places!!) I would also like a waitrose.

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  • Ellandi  |  December 14 2012, 6:49PM

    @Cookster78 We are the new owners of White River. It is possible to very easily create two stores of over 40,000 sq ft in the shopping centre, with a little investement. In addition there are planning applications in for over 130,000 sq ft of development within the towns existing boundaries, so there is viable space far closer to the town centre. We are working with the BID Group, Chamnber of Commerce, Town Council, other investors and local traders to deliver a plan for a vibrant town centre that people deserve, Coyte Farm will kill this dead.

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  • pilgrimboz  |  December 14 2012, 5:51PM

    I am for this development as the town is an utter failure but I can also understand why people feel its the wrong place. The perfect solution to this (which is why it'll never happen) would be to have used that hugh swathe of perfectly flat land barely ten feet away from our bus-train station up on Palace Rds former college site. But this is St austell, remember greedy backhanders come first and what will we get on what should be prime retail space? a hugh swathe of cheap overpriced housing which could quite frankly be built anywhere. Too logical for the dim wits who run the circus to work that one out though I'm afraid.St Austell always has and always will be dictated by too many dodgy hand shakes on the golf course by greedy self serving crooks I'm afraid.

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  • Ellandi  |  December 14 2012, 5:32PM

    Simon Hoare, a professional lobbyist, wants to paint this as White River v Coyte, it is not. It is about what is best for the whole town. At present there are two applications for retail developments far closer to the town centre totaling over 130,000 sqft, with a third of over 100,000 sq ft in the pipeline. In addition, two units of over 40,000 sq ft can be created in White River Place with a small amount of investment. Major retailers can be accomodated without putting 98 acres under tarmac.

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  • MapSerpren  |  December 14 2012, 4:13PM

    One day, in the not too distant future, people will look at pictures of the fields and countryside such as that above, and wonder where food can be grown and people feel free.

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  • dma5545  |  December 14 2012, 3:56PM

    Right idea WRONG PLACE. Lets not forget about the rest of the development.....How many new houses!! And who will they be for? Troubled families from up country or abroad.....yeah just what St Austell needs more troubled welfare families!!!! If its going to be built make sure its built on a BROWN FIELD site and make sure the houses are for CORNISH families.

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  • forum  |  December 14 2012, 2:16PM

    In refernce to ocdskull comments. We all ready have cheap 99p stores and charity shops in the town so whats going to be new. We have poundland so did we need another cheap 99p store. where the staff are never pleasant, never smile, never polite and will never pack your bags no matter how difficult they can see you struggling. We will never get top names in the town because the shops arnt big enough. the day of the big store in the towns are gone. most people want ease. I f iwant something special i go to truro. i would much prefer to shop closer to home. I say to Coyte Farm bring it on.

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  • ocdskull  |  December 14 2012, 1:39PM

    I just read about how other towns faired with an out of town shopping centre(Westwood Cross). The first in the list is Margate, Kent. I lived in Margate when they built Westwood Cross and was there for the aftermath. It is one reason I moved down to Cornwall. I remember there was a lot of objections from Margate seafront and town centre. Rightly so because within 6 month all the big names including Marks & Spencers moved to Westwood cross. Once this happened the high street filled up with pound stores and charity shops. Prices went up in the little store as you had no choice to pay or drive the 4 miles out of town. So to say they are a good thing I say "IT WILL KILL ST AUSTELL TOWN CENTRE" Then we can expect cheap and nasty and charity shops to be the only thing left for the town.

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