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Fears Next and M&S could leave Preston for Cuerden

Posted on - 24th September, 2017 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - Bamber Bridge, Business, News, Politics, Preston City Centre, Redevelopment
How the IKEA store at Cuerden may look
How the IKEA store at Cuerden may look

A major shopping centre in Preston city centre has joined other retail players in the city raising their concerns to the Cuerden development.

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Fishergate Shopping Centre’s owners have written to South Ribble Borough Council with their formal response to the IKEA-led development near the M65.

Hedge fund Benson Elliott group have highlightd how Next and Marks and Spencers could leave the city centre.

A report from WYG, retail analysts, shows the Cuerden development includes a format for a large store along the lines of M&S with a large food hall. A second unit earmarked for the Cuerden development could accomodate a Next Home store.

Read more: Preston Markets scheme remains ‘on track’ despite stalling claim

A statement in the report says: “and our knowledge of the market suggests that these two units have been specifically designed to accommodate Marks and Spencer and Next”.

The Fishergate centre says it also thinks the vacancy rate for shops in the city centre is well above the national average – running at nearly 20 per cent.

Estimates from the Cuerden reports show a loss of up to 10 per cent of Preston city centre’s turnover as a consequence of Cuerden.

Fishergate shopping centre
Fishergate shopping centre Pic: Tony Worrall

Benson Elliot’s letter goes on to say: “with the exception of the Ikea store, which (subject to appropriate controls) will sell largely bulky goods and displace trade from other out of centre stores, our client strongly objects to the retail elements of the Cuerden scheme.”

Preston City Council have indicated their support for the Cuerden development, saying they believe it can co-exist with the current city centre.

Read more: Traffic concerns raised about Cuerden site

St George’s Shopping Centre and Chorley Council have both tabled their objections to the scheme, saying in St George’s case it risks damaging the city centre and for Chorley they say it would place their own cinema and redevelopment scheme in the town centre at risk.

Cuerden Strategic Development have said previously: “Our planning application is accompanied by a detailed retail assessment which looks at the potential impact our development could have on surrounding centres, such as Preston city centre.

“The assessment demonstrates that the scheme will not lead to a significant adverse impact on any local city or town centres, a conclusion that has been endorsed, following rigorous examination by South Ribble Borough Council and their specialist retail advisers.

“A number of potential conditions to control the proposed retail floorspace were put forward within the application submission and as such we fully expect these to be imposed by the Council, should they grant planning permission for the scheme.”

What do you make of the Fishergate comments? What do you think about Cuerden? Let us know in the comments below

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