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New B&M shop could suck the life from Gloucester city centre

By The Citizen  |  Posted: March 29, 2013

Comments (10)

CHANGES to the items a new store in Gloucester can and can't sell are causing a bit of a stir.

B&M, which already has a discount shop in the former Marks & Spencer unit in Southgate Street, is set to open a larger outlet at the former MFI store in Eastern Avenue.

A planning application has been made to Gloucester City Council by B&M to change the use of the unit to enable them to sell toys, food, clothes and toiletries in addition to what is currently allowed at the site – bulky goods including paint, wallpaper, DIY products, garden and leisure products, and furniture.

Historically the city has always tried to keep a distinct difference between the shopping experience in its retail parks and the city centre in a bid to boost trade in both.

Joann Meneaud, planning officer at the council, said: "The main issue for consideration with this application relates to retail policy and whether the variation of the condition to allow for a wider range of goods to be sold would have an unacceptable impact upon the city centre."

Julian Smith, manager of Cotter's Bar, which has been in the city for 40 years, said: "This kind of thing sucks the life from city centre.

"Why would someone come into the centre if they can go to a retail park and park for free?"

Ivan Taylor, owner of Truscott Jewellers in College Street, is welcoming the move. He said: "These units need to be filled.

"The MFI unit is huge and therefore expensive so it's good to see a sustainable business going in there.

"They are simply meeting their customer demand."

The issue will be discussed by the council's planning committee on Tuesday.

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10 comments

  • KerryLewis  |  March 31 2013, 3:20PM

    I think it's a good idea that more affordable shops are coming into Gloucester, when products are cheap, you have more customers, more customers in one shop results in more of a foot fall in others. And hopefully as time progresses Gloucester will become more popular and the city centre, along with surrounding areas; will have the opportunity to pick which store will fill which empty unit.

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  • TimMessanger  |  March 31 2013, 10:14AM

    Hold your horses everyone WHAT is next door! What do WHAT sell?

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  • Justica  |  March 29 2013, 7:14PM

    The people who use Gloucester city shops are those that do not have a car, arrive by bus or those who live within walking distance. Car owners will do what they always do, go for free parking at supermarket or shopping mall such as the old MFI site, so this won't change anyone's habits with regard to using the city centre.

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  • honslknjklyt  |  March 29 2013, 4:33PM

    GET RID OF THE DIRTY BEGGARS That would be a step in the right direction of cleaning up Gloucester. I went there in the week, no beggars to be seen and it was a breath of fresh air, I even went into Marks and Spencers - getting a visiting in without being pounced on by "mmmmaaaayyyyte, bad day todaaaay can you help me". It was must better.

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  • geraint2010  |  March 29 2013, 11:33AM

    Imposing trade restrictions is rather like King Canute's (incorrectly attributed) attempts to stem the tide. Most people want to shop where free convenient parking abounds and if they can't find it locally they will venture further afield.

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  • Lecorche  |  March 29 2013, 10:14AM

    The thing that's really sucked the life out of the City Centre is having to pay to park and then not being allowed to drive to the shops. Kings Square needs to be turned a free car park.

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  • Walker100  |  March 29 2013, 9:41AM

    "Ivan Taylor, owner of Truscott Jewellers in College Street, is welcoming the move. He said: "These units need to be filled." I would have thought that Ivan would want the dozen or so empty units on Westgate Street to be filled first, especially with another three about to close. Westgate was promoted as the unique street with independent traders. Now is has a discount store, banks, phone shops, charity shops and empty units. In the words of Frank Drebin "Move along, nothing to see here!"

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  • gloscityguy  |  March 29 2013, 8:10AM

    The development at the Quays has sucked the life out of the city centre already, what life is there left to suck?

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  • SandraPee  |  March 29 2013, 8:01AM

    Challenging times for everyone right now be it on a retail or personal level . Eastern Avenue has already got '' WHAT ? '' , another discount store which sells a vast variety of goods , so discount shops are already trading on the ring road . The article doesn't say whether B&M will close it's Southgate Street store or not , but, with Morrisons new store being built on the railway triangle , which will generate more traffic,and potential customers that area of the city should see an increase in it's profitability . A smart move by B&M . Yes, the city council needs as much revenue as it can get, but, when money is tight for vast numbers of the general public the cost of parking will inevitably be a factor in deciding where people will shop . It's just a good thing that the Banks are in the city centre , as it's them which attract a lot of the footfall at present . I think more needs to be done to build on and promote Gloucester as a tourist attraction , with ''affordability'' being the ''carrot'' . Get Robert Opie back !

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  • johncc2010  |  March 29 2013, 7:45AM

    great news....

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