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Opposition grows to huge retail scheme

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: November 02, 2012

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A DEVELOPMENT that will provide more square feet of retail space than all Bodmin's shops put together has been tabled for the outskirts of St Austell.

The proposals for the out-of-town retail park at Coyte Farm would also offer more retail space than shops in Liskeard, Launceston, Saltash and Bude.

It would include a 68,000sq ft Sainsbury's supermarket with eco-credentials, a 160,000sq ft shopping park with large units for up to ten national retailers, a care home, a 12-acre youth academy extension to St Austell Golf Club, a pub and land for improvements to St Mewan's school and church.

Phase two, due to be submitted in 2013, would bring up to 250 homes, 30 per cent of which would be affordable.

The developers say it will:

Create about 1,600 jobs (600 during construction).

Provide a destination, encouraging other national retailers to set up shop in St Austell.

Act as a buffer between St Austell and other retail centres such as Truro and Plymouth, to which it loses about £100 million of non-food retail expenditure annually, keeping residents in the town and encouraging them to make linked trips with the town centre.

Invest £110 million of private capital in St Austell at a time of economic uncertainty.

However, the proposals have been met with staunch opposition from some town traders.

"The town centre's in a fight for its life. We're calling on the entire community, everyone who values their town centre, to join us in opposing this totally inappropriate development," said Steve Hurst, a member of St Austell Bay Chamber of Commerce.

"Cornwall councillors need to understand that the people of St Austell do not want their town centre and the traders within it put out of business."

Following a meeting in September at which the chamber secured support from 80 businesses it has launched a campaign against the Coyte Farm plan, with the backing of White River Place's owner Ellandi, the town's Business Improvement District (BID) Steering Group and town-centre investor Colvase Estate.

It has set up a campaign base in the town centre and will be looking to mobilise backing in the community through petitions and letter-writing campaigns to Cornwall Council's planners.

Simon Hoare from Coyte Farm developer Mercian said: "At a difficult economic time, it's a fantastic vote of confidence in St Austell that both the owners of White River Place and us are seeking to invest in the town's economy, create jobs and help the development of St Austell.

"I want all of us to work together to ensure a vibrant town centre and new retail at Coyte Farm."

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  • caroclemens  |  November 07 2012, 4:34PM

    If 30% of the houses are to be affordable then 70% are unaffordable. Perhaps one of the I-love-Sainbury's unsustainable development fans will remind me why we want even more houses that locals cannot afford. Oh, sorry, I'm forgetting that the new supermarket will have "eco-credentials"... so the bit about building on farmland isn't true then? And I'm forgetting the 'improvements' to buy off local opinion. A new pub, eh? I thought they were threatened with closure because of lack of custom.

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  • jamjar  |  November 05 2012, 12:52PM

    I think it is a great idea...just by not building this doesn't mean that people will automatically shop in the town centre. I choose to travel away from St Austell due to the limited selection of shops. It is a modern concept to have shopping areas away from the centre. At the moment the town centre is a traffic black spot with the narrow roads. It won't help by constantly building around the town centre. This development will ease that by spreading shoppers like the Treliske development in Truro and will ease the amount of money lost by the town through it's residents that travel to Truro or Plymouth to shop and visit their out of town developments!!!

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