City developers Peel and Stanhope have gone head-to-head in a battle to open a new Home Bargains store at the Peel Centre.
The plans were refused by a majority of city councillors despite a chorus of support for them.
Peel, owners of Gloucester Quays, want to open the discount retailer in an empty unit at the ailing site, home to the former Cineworld cinema.
King’s Quarter developers Stanhope sent in top gun Martyn Chase to a meeting of councillors tonight to try to put a stop to the plan.
Mr Chase said sites like this are ‘quite frankly the killer of town centres’. He added: “On paper this looks like just one shop and might not be hugely significant. But for us with a £50million investment plan it is a massive issue. Allow one of these and you open the door to any number of others.”
VIDEO: Stanhope boss Martyn Chase slams Home Bargains plan from rival developers Peel
Planners say the plans should be refused because it could take away potential business from the proposed King’s Quarter.
But councillors rallied around with support for the Home Bargains plans.
Councillor Lise Noakes said: “I don’t want to see this sort of shop in our city centre. We want the likes of Next and Monsoon at King’s Quarter. If you have King’s Quarter looking like this we will be a laughing stock and we will have failed.”
Councillor Mary Smith said: “This has been a difficult one and it has caused me great angst but at the end of the day King’s Quarter has been hanging around for a long time and nothing has happened. People are sceptical about it.”
But councillor Jeremy Hilton reiterated his claim that the Peel application would be a ‘Trojan horse’ set out to destroy the city centre. Mr Hilton, who led calls for the plan to be refused, said: “It is important that we do not undermine the King’s Quarter development.”