REACTION: Retail park with M&S and Debenhams stores in Scunthorpe given green light by judge
Supporters and opponents of a planned retail park in Scunthorpe have reacted to a judge's decision to give the green light for the scheme.
Mr Justice Hickinbottom threw out a legal challenge to the retail park, which will bring Marks & Spencers and Debenhams stores to the town.
North Lincolnshire Council's planning committee twice voted in favour of granting planning permission for the project, earmarked for Doncaster Road.
But a legal challenge to the council's decision led to a judicial review, which has reported its findings today.
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Chris Newsome, development director for Simons, the developer behind the scheme, said: "We're delighted with the decision to uphold North Lincolnshire Council's approval of our planning application for a new retail park on Doncaster Road, Scunthorpe.
"This application has the strong support of the local community and was thoroughly assessed by North Lincolnshire Council.
"We can now move towards delivering this scheme, which represents £25 million of private investment and will create around 300 new jobs."
M&S and Debenhams have both signed up for units at the site, with fashion chain River Island also rumoured to be on board.
Objections to the retail park centred on its potential effect on town centre traders, as well as traffic and environmental concerns.
Councillor Liz Redfern, the leader of North Lincolnshire Council, said the authority would continue to support town centre traders.
But she said the whole region should join together to support the Simons scheme.
She said: "For too long, the people of Scunthorpe and the surrounding areas have been travelling out of the area, spending hard earned money on comparable goods.
"We need to reverse that trend and this will help to do that.
"It will keep a lot of that spend within the local economy.
"It's exactly the shot in the arm for the local economy that investors need to see when taking decisions on where to locate."
The judicial review was brought by Zurich Assurance Ltd, trading as Threadneedle Property Investments, which represents Scunthorpe's Foundry shopping centre.
A Threadneedle spokeswoman said: "Despite the judge's decision to allow the development to proceed, we feel fully justified in challenging North Lincolnshire Council's planning decision.
"It is now an acknowledged principle that a buoyant town centre and High Street is vital for the wellbeing of the overall community at a local and regional level."
Tony Pickering, manager of the Parishes shopping centre, said he was disappointed with the verdict but determined to help the town centre stay vibrant.
He said: "It is over and we need to get on with things now.
"One door closes but another will open.
"I am disappointed with the decision, primarily on behalf of the Parishes because of the possible threat to the town centre and its traders.
"But we now need to put this behind us and move forward and hopefully, prove the theory wrong.
"The other side of the coin is it is still a positive for Scunthorpe.
"We have got major retailers coming to Scunthorpe, albeit not in the town centre."