Monday, December 3, 2012

News: Plans to extend Cortonwood Retail Park submitted


Plans for a significant expansion to Cortonwood Retail Park in Rotherham have been submitted, a development that could create 250 jobs.

If approved, the plans from Budenny LLP would see a current distribution warehouse demolished to make way for six new retail stores totalling 96,000 sq ft.

The scheme will make the popular retail destination 30% bigger and add 310 more parking spaces.

The former colliery site at Brampton, on the border with Barnsley, expanded last year and is already home to leading retailers including Next, ASDA Living, Morrisons and Boots.

Budenny LLP was formerly the property division of Alba PLC who built and operated the warehouse before leasing it to UPS in 2008. They are working with developers, Helical Retail, to realise the development.

Daniel Harris, the former chief executive and owner of Alba PLC which developed the warehouse a decade ago, said: "The economics of running a specialist, high-bay warehouse operation at Cortonwood no longer stack up. This is reflected in the operation now running only one shift and employing less than 30 people. When we opened the building ten years ago, we created 100 jobs and were running three shifts around the clock.

"Our arrangement with UPS concludes in about one year's time. Working with Helical, we have found a partner with the right expertise to get a first class retail scheme developed and built here."
Submitted with the plans are impact assessments and sequential tests. It is estimated that the new development could divert £1.1m (around 1%) of comparison trade away from Rotherham town centre and £4.6m away from Barnsley town centre but this is considered a small amount and will not jeopardise future investment in the two town centres.

Much more diversion of trade is more likely to come from similar out of town retail developments in the region as the A1 non food retail development would be significantly different from town centre retail, designed for larger stores with "bulky" non food goods similar to the occupiers already based at Cortonwood.

Adrian Russell, a spokesperson for the developer, Helical Retail, said: "This multi-million pound investment will be a boost for local jobs and confidence.

"Our scheme sits well with the existing retail park and will build upon what is already a very popular shopping destination with local people. It will give them greater retail choice without the need to travel to Meadowhall or Parkgate.

"We are encouraged by initial enthusiastic responses from local representatives and stakeholders and are looking forward to getting the plans passed so we can bring this exciting proposal forward."

It is expected that the planning application will be decided very early in the New Year.

Cortonwood website

Helical Retail website

Images: Budenny LLP / Helical Retail / Davis Weatherall Partnership


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