Fears for town trade may block shop plan
Plans to build a supermarket at the former HBC Engineering
site in Halfway are expected to be turned down because of the
impact it would have on Sheerness businesses.
In January, councillors approved a plan by Citygrove Securities
for a store at the Power Station Road plot but communities
secretary Eric Pickles issued a holding direction, preventing full
planning permission being granted.
Sainsbury’s, which had been interested in the site, then pulled
out in March.
Since then, work has started on the £30m plan for Neats Court,
including a Morrisons store, KFC drive-through, petrol station and
other retail outlets, which was approved in September last
Citygrove withdrew from its HBC plans in the summer and it
reverted back to administrators Grant Thornton, which has now put
forward the same application for redevelopment of the site to build
Councillors are due to make a decision at a planning meeting
next Thursdaydec20 and officers have recommended it is refused.
They believe if it was to go ahead, it would have a significant
adverse impact on Sheerness town centre.
According to a retail study which the council had carried out,
if two supermarkets were to be built, there would be a 41% drop in
trade in the town and Tesco Sheerness could see a fall of as much
The report also states both stores together would have a
significant impact on the vitality and viability of Sheerness, with
store closures likely and Aldi being particularly vulnerable.
The fact the applicants are unwilling to enter into a 106
agreement, meaning they have to contribute towards improvements to
local facilities, has also been noted in the officer’s
recommendation for refusal.
Meanwhile, work at the Neats Court site is slightly ahead of
schedule, despite the cold weather.
Giles Haywood, of developer LXB Retail Properties, said: “We are
currently in the process of piling the ground and digging out the
drainage attenuation tanks that will sit beneath the car park.
“We have been working hard to try and secure agreements with
tenants in what is a tough retail market.
“We are in advanced negotiations with B&M, Pets at Home,
Brantano and Poundland and we hope to confirm other names in the
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