A major £32m planned expansion of Kingswood’s Retail Park looks set to be refused once again.
A 10-unit development of shops and restaurants had been proposed for vacant land by the flagship Next store, with planners saying the venture would create more than 250 jobs and would bring new retailers to Hull.
It was revealed last year there was a possibility of an Ikea click-and-collect store opening in the new outlets, along with major high street fashion stores.
The original scheme was refused by Hull City Council’s planning committee last year, with councillors citing fears the expansion would impact the city centre, before the proposals were re-submitted in an altered application this April.
But, despite developers promising it would not have a “significant adverse impact” on other retail sectors, council officers have again recommended the scheme for refusal.
Joint developers Kingswood Parks Development Company (KPDC) and Kier Property said they were “extremely disappointed” by the decision.
“We can’t see any reason why they have taken this stance,” said Dan Hyde, Kier Property’s senior development manager.
“It follows a number of meetings with Hull City Council at which we felt were making good progress. We trust members of the planning committee will see the benefit of this major investment in the city to improve its overall offer.
“Our plans would help rival other cities and bring people to Hull, especially with retail and leisure developments like Five Towns down the M62 in Castleford being given the go-ahead just 46 miles away and the recently announced expansion of York’s designer outlet centre on the horizon – both of which present yet another potential alternative spend destination for consumers in Hull and the East Riding.”
Gino D’Acampo is opening restaurant at Kingswood Next
“We are confident that our application now complies with all relevant aspects of planning policy and addresses all concerns raised after our previous application was refused, a decision which we are still in the process of appealing against as we felt it wasn’t substantiated.”
In their recent recommendation for refusal, council officers said the proposal would have an “unacceptable impact” on existing and planned investment in the city centre and other district centres in Hull.
Objections were also made from Princes Quay, St Stephen’s, Wykeland and the Prospect Centre, all of whom said new retail developments should not detract from the city centre.
But developers said changes to their new application, including a condition preventing any retailer closing their current Hull base and moving to the proposed Kingswood development, had appeased that.
And a recent consultation period revealed more than 90 per cent of Kingswood residents supported the centre going ahead.
“Our plans are focused on diversifying Hull’s retail offer and the development plans we are driving forward wouldn’t suit a city centre location – the units will have a minimum retail floorspace which attract retailers looking to trade in a larger format store,” said Mr Hyde.
“Our application is focused on complementing the wider retail offer in Hull. We want to support with attracting people to Hull to spend money and also retaining local people’s spend here, preventing leakage to other towns and cities offering similar variety when it comes to retail.
“This negative recommendation has been made in the face of a huge display of public support for the scheme over the past eight weeks. It represents a major £32m inward investment and vote of confidence in Hull – more importantly, the recommendation could result in the loss of up to 250 new job opportunities for local people.”
A final decision is expected to be made on July 26 by Hull City Council’s planning committee.