Fresh fears as Costa and Subway outlets earmarked for M&S retail park on Doncaster Road in Scunthorpe
People have been reacting to the news that Subway and Costa could join the proposed Marks & Spencer retail park – triggering more concerns about the development's impact on the town centre.
The retailers, both of whom have shops in Scunthorpe town centre, may fill two units at the retail park planned for the site of the Stephen Smith Garden Centre, near Glanford Park.
New plans, which have been submitted to North Lincolnshire Council, are for a drive-through Costa Coffee restaurant and a Subway sandwich shop.
No contracts have yet been signed but the application says the Subway store would complement its current outlet.
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However, Alan Bell, of the Keep Scunthorpe Alive group, said: "Can anybody doubt that this new addition will lead to two further empty units in the town centre?
"In the last controversial 12 months, we have already seen more and more business failures and empty units in the town centre. There can be no doubt that when national chains such as Ernest Jones or HMV were deciding which towns to continue trading in and which stores to close down, the imminence of this new development and the millions of pounds the developers openly acknowledge it will divert from the town centre will have played a big part in decision-making."
M&S, Debenhams and Boots have already signed up to the retail park.
Mr Bell says the fact the proposed Costa Coffee shop would be a drive-through will add to the traffic problems that objectors have raised.
He said: "Surely this new dynamic must be considered properly by the full planning committee, as the existing damage to traffic flows on Doncaster Road is already a critical issue which in my opinion as a resident should have been enough to have the original application thrown out."
As part of the planning agreement, a list of 30 high street retailers was drawn up, of which no more than one could move to the new site.
Neither Subway nor Costa were on that list. Neither firm has commented on the plans.
Chris Newsome, development director for Simons, the firm behind the proposals, said deals with Costa and Subway had not yet been signed but rents were agreed.
He said both would retain their town centre presence, as well as opening new premises at the development.
He said: "There is nothing formally under contract but it is very exciting. They are very keen.
"The important perspective is it won't affect any operations in the town centre."
A decision is still to be made on whether Zurich Assurance Ltd, which represents Scunthorpe's The Foundry Shopping Centre, is able to launch a fresh appeal aimed at derailing the Simons development.
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