Doncaster Road M&S retail park plan approved again by councillors
The way is now clear for Marks & Spencer to establish a new store on the outskirts of Scunthorpe.
North Lincolnshire Council’s planning committee – meeting at Scunthorpe Civic Centre, Ashby Road, this afternoon – decided to grant planning permission for Simons Developments Ltd's out-of-town retail park project earmarked for land in Doncaster Road, Gunness.
The verdict was passed on the casting vote of chairman Arthur Bunyan, following a 5-5 split vote from councillors.
Councillors originally voted in favour of granting permission in December but were asked to reconsider the plans after the Keep Scunthorpe Alive campaign group took the first steps towards a legal challenge.
The group pressed for the proposal to be rejected because of its potential to cause a devastating effect on the town centre.
The application approved is to demolish Trent Valley Garden Centre in Gunness, and its associated structures (including three residential properties) and erect a retail park with associated access roads, car parking, servicing areas and hard and soft landscaping.
Addressing the latest meeting, Tony Coe, owner of High Street-based Coe & Co jewellers, said: “It is clear to see that the number of out-of-town retail parks that have been approved in this area has had a severe negative impact on the retail environment within Scunthorpe town centre.
“If this proposed development is allowed to go ahead, it would be nothing short of catastrophic and would indeed be the death knell of our High Street.”
Councillors were shown plans drawn up on behalf of Keep Scunthorpe Alive which demonstrate how a similar project could be accommodated in the town centre.
Ian McPherson, a resident of the Lodge Moor estate near the application site, said: “The new plans that Keep Scunthorpe Alive has produced eradicate all of the issues and it is a less disruptive and more beneficial development.
“We as a town have an opportunity to get what we all want. We want M&S back in town but in the town centre, where shops truly belong.”
Speaking in favour of the scheme, Simons group development director Chris Newsome looked to ease concerns about the future of the town centre.
He said: “This will only comprise four units and a legal agreement prevents town centre retailers from taking those units.
“The town centre will not be moving to Doncaster Road.”