PLANNING chiefs have approved plans for the R Sinclair Transport site to be redeveloped into a retail park despite concerns it could have a ‘detrimental’ impact on the town centre.
Their decision now means the family-owned haulage firm will be able to relocate to the Vale Park to make way for the three retail units on Davies Road.
As the Observer has previously reported, Aldi and TK Maxx have already declared their intention to open brand new stores there, with the occupier of the last remaining unit yet to be announced.
Councillors on Wychavon District Council’s planning committee approved the plans at a meeting last week. Councillors went against planning officers’ recommendations to refuse the application over their concerns of the negative impact the development could have on Evesham’s town centre.
Speaking at the meeting, Coun Frances Smith urged members to vote in favour of the plans because she claimed there are no other suitable sites in the town centre for this development.
“I understand completely the arguments regarding the viability of the town centre, but sadly Evesham does not lend itself to attracting larger stores within its centre,” she said.
“I would suggest there are no suitable sites of this size within the town centre.
“The planning officer’s concern about the impact of the new development on Evesham town centre is in my opinion not proved. Even the council’s consultant has confirmed that no significant harm in terms of impact of planned investment or on town centre viability and vitality can be demonstrated or identified.”
However, a number of councillors did share planning officer’s concerns about the impact of the retail park.
Coun Gerry O’Donnell said: “I do believe and I do support the officer’s recommendation that there will be an impact on the town centre.
“We’re not looking at just the food side; don’t forget there are two other units as well, one of which could be taken by a value clothing retailer.
“There are clothing outlets in town and I don’t want to see people driving out of town, parking their cars up off Davies Road to use this retailer. I want to see shops like that open in the town centre.”