Thu, 05 Jul 2018
KENNET Shopping centre’s owners are set to object to a scheme which would bring a new retailer to Newbury.
As reported in the Newbury Weekly News a fortnight ago, plans have been submitted to build a 12,000sq ft shopping unit on the site of the now-redundant Narrow Boat pub at the London Road Retail Park.
Among the first to raise concerns over the scheme is Kennet Shopping owner HIG Luxembourg Holdings.
Writing on behalf of the centre’s owner, real estate firm CBRE said: “The Kennet Centre provides significant retail and leisure floorspace in Newbury town centre, which is suffering from a number of vacancies; therefore HIG wishes to strongly object to the principle of a new retail unit outside Newbury town centre.
“The proposed retail unit would be harmful to the vitality and viability of Newbury town centre, particularly the Kennet Centre.
“We have fundamental concerns with the sequential and retail impact assessment which has been undertaken on behalf of the applicant, particularly the assumptions which have been made about the Kennet Centre.”
Planning documents say that the unnamed retailer has more than 400 stores throughout the UK already, but wants to expand to 700-plus in the next five years.
The plans said that the retailer had looked at the former TK Maxx and Debenhams outlets in the Kennet Centre.
But despite the units being of a suitable size, the developer added that neither unit was being actively marketed.
The Kennet Shopping centre also recently put on hold ambitious plans for a restaurant quarter.
Centre manager Mag Williams told the NWN: “The redevelopment is on hold until we decide the best thing to do.
“Bride Hall’s [former asset managers who submitted the plan] idea was centred on the leisure quarter, but it could take a different direction.
“We aren’t sure what’s going to happen just yet.
“We’ve got some potential interest in the retail units, so decided to hold fire for now.”