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New Home Bargains store at Peel Centre is a 'Trojan horse' in disguise

By citizenmike  |  Posted: January 08, 2014

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Home Bargains operations director Joe Morris

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SIXTY jobs and a new Home Bargains store at the Peel Centre are on hold after councillors said the plan was a ‘Trojan horse’ designed to destroy Gloucester’s city centre.

The bargain home store wants to occupy two empty units between Hobbycraft and Gala Bingo and plans were submitted by Peel, owners of Gloucester Quays.

But city councillors have deferred making a decision for fear that allowing a change of use of the vacant units could open the floodgates for firms to ditch the city centre in favour of the Quays area.

The change of use would allow any store at the Peel Centre to sell food, drink, toys and perfumes – the sale of which could rival the city centre, planners say.

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The permission would not be restricted to Home Bargains.

Councillor Jeremy Hilton (LD, Kingsholm and Wotton) said: “This application is by Peel, not by Home Bargains. Allowing this change of use, we could see whole the city centre shift down south. Don’t forget, Peel own a lot of land down there. Home Bargains could be a Trojan horse and we have got to be very careful.”

Planning officers want the Peel plan to be thrown out because they argue the former Marks and Spencer site, in Northgate Street, and the future Kings Quarter redevelopment could have been suitable city centre locations for the brand.

Peel bosses claim that the old M&S site is too big for Home Bargains and that the firm was not prepared to wait for five years for the Kings Quarter development.

Gareth Finch, planning manager for Peel, said: “Home Bargains have been trying to come to Gloucester for three years and these units have been empty for a long time.

“This letting is critical to the survival of the Peel Centre because of the relocation of the cinema. The centre faces a grave future if we don’t do this.

“Home Bargains cannot afford the rates at the M&S site, it is too big for them and they have not been approached by Stanhope for the Kings Quarter development. It is not surprising really because they are aiming at high end fashion.”

Stanhope lodged an objection to the plans arguing that it would result in ‘death by a thousand cuts’ for the Kings Quarter scheme.

Councillor Lisa Noakes (C, Barnwood) said: “A shop like this going to King’s Quarter? Over my dead body. We want high end fashion like Miss Selfridge. We want people flooding into Gloucester.

“These units at the Peel centre have been empty for a long time so let’s just let them get on with it.”

Councillor Gerald Dee (C, Tuffley) added: “This doesn’t compete with the city centre. These people are willing to take a risk and we have waited long enough.”

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15 comments

  • tomvonforest  |  January 10 2014, 9:38AM

    "We want high end fashion like Miss Selfridge. We want people flooding into Gloucester." - No we don't!! "We" does not speak for me, nor _anyone_ I know.. What a load of carp..

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  • Halo123  |  January 10 2014, 12:36AM

    @gloslad34 when you look at an average family of 4, 2 adults and 2 children (you can't get child returns or day riders) works out at £14 just to go a couple of miles and back.

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  • citon  |  January 09 2014, 10:56PM

    If they stopped this stupid idea of making the City centre off limits to traffic, many more businesses would be keen to open there. As it is, the only people who have time to go are those without a full time occupation, so not people with much money to throw about. Hence why we end up with things ike 99p cafe and charity shops.

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  • Tuffley_Echo  |  January 09 2014, 10:18PM

    Miss Selfridge really! No wonder half the shops & units in the city are empty with councillors trying to dictate who goes where.

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  • jas37  |  January 09 2014, 9:41PM

    Jemmywood, It's disappointing to see that you have reverted to your anti-Quays campaign. Your more recent comments had appeared to take a deeper consideration of the relevant facts, you seem to have quickly forgotten that principle and jumped back on the band wagon -and perhaps even trying to drive it?

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  • jas37  |  January 09 2014, 9:34PM

    Having now read the planning application the question must seriously be raised regarding the competency of certain Councillors and Planning Officers. Are these people seriously suggesting that Home Bargains are a suitable tenant for the old M&S unit in Northgate Street? Just imagine the Street scene- A large B&M Bargains store on one side of The Cross complemented by a large Home Bargains Store the other side, these two would be surrounded by The Pound Store, the 99p Store, Poundworld, Poundland all in close proximity. And to suggest that Home Bargains would be a suitable Retailer for the King's Quarter development is even more ridiculous. These people should clearly not be involved in any sort of decision making. The Home Bargains Store proposed for the Peel Centre is less than a quarter of the size of the Tesco Store that the City Council permitted planning permission for at St Oswalds and is also smaller than the What and B&M Stores in Eastern Avenue. It makes you wonder if these Councillors and Planning Officers have a hidden agenda or are really that unambitious or purely totally incompetent. The attitudes of these Officials perhaps explains why our City Centre has struggled to attract major investment for many years.

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  • Glos_Lad34  |  January 09 2014, 9:01PM

    @Halo You calling £3.50 extortionate?

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  • Rob_quedgeley  |  January 09 2014, 9:08AM

    High end fashion! Miss Selfridge? Dear, oh dear. Is that the scope of ambition for Kings Quarter!??

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  • Halo123  |  January 09 2014, 8:26AM

    Maybe if they made parking in the centre of Gloucester free and Stagecoach cut their extortionate bus fares, people would be happier to use the City centre.

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  • Thomasjamesl1  |  January 08 2014, 11:30PM

    As you say JAS 37 there seems little merit or reasoning in the decision, isn't it time lay part timers were replaced with professionals in planning, indeed the peel centre is closer to the city centre so B&M should have gone there rather than Eastern

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