DEVELOPERS are appealing the decision to refuse plans for a new Home Bargains store, which was described by councillors as a ‘Trojan horse’.
Peel Outlets, owner of Gloucester Quays, are ‘dismayed’ by Gloucester City Council’s decision to throw out their plan that would pave the way for a new home lifestyle store at the Peel Centre.
Councillors feared that granting permission could open the floodgates to other out-of-city-centre shops which could have opened at the proposed King’s Quarter project.
But Peel are arguing that the opening of The Range, in Eastern Avenue, and the granting of permission for a new Aldi in Bristol Road, is a clear sign that their own plans should be rubber-stamped.
They are now appealing to the Secretary of State to overturn the planning committee’s decision to throw out the change of use plans which would have allowed the sale of food and drink, toys and toiletries.
A Home Bargains boss has said that his firm would invest £1million, create 60 permanent jobs and that they had been searching for suitable premises in the city for four years without success.
Joe Morris, operations director of Home Bargains, said: “It is hugely disappointing to be refused permission at the Peel Centre. We followed officers’ previous advice and moved our attention to the most centrally located, viable and available unit in the city.
“We do not know what more we can do and in the absence of any suitable units within the city centre itself, we have to question whether to take our investment elsewhere. Residents are currently deprived of genuine retail choice and important job opportunities have also been lost.”
Mark Whittaker, Peel’s property director, added: “We support the proposed King’s Quarter retail development aspirations. What we find difficult to comprehend is that a future potential fashion retail scheme is used as a reason to prevent other retail proposals in Gloucester, at a time when there is an overriding need to provide new retailing in Gloucester to prevent shoppers driving to other towns such as Cheltenham.
“It is utterly baffling to be told that the occupier should wait to see what is available in King’s Quarter, at the same time as councillors make it clear they don’t want that retailer in King’s Quarter.”
Home Bargains have been able to open stores on retail parks in Cheltenham and Hereford without planning difficulties.