Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

If the Garden Centre Is Expanding, It Can Only Do Damage If the Garden Centre Is Expanding, to the Town

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

If the Garden Centre Is Expanding, It Can Only Do Damage If the Garden Centre Is Expanding, to the Town

Article excerpt

Byline: Brian Daniel Northumberland reporter brian.daniel@ncjmedia.co.uk

AGARDEN centre's bid to expand its clothing sales area is facing massive opposition at a neighbouring town amid fears it will destroy trade.

Heighley Gate Garden Centre, near Morpeth in Northumberland, is seeking to increase the area in which it sells clothing and footwear from 1,300 square metres to 2,000.

However, its proposal is facing opposition from town traders, a shopping centre, a major supermarket, town councillors and 50 residents, amid claims it could damage businesses in the heart of Morpeth. The centre, which employs 123 people, has applied to Northumberland County Council to vary a condition of its planning permission to allow it to increase the size of its general clothing and footwear sales area, from 1,300sq m to 2,000.

The proposal follows the serving of a planning contravention notice on the centre - part of the Wyevale Garden Centre Group - in 2011, amid claims it was selling goods it was not permitted to under the condition.

However, the application is facing opposition from Morpeth Chamber of Trade, the town's Morrisons store and the company - Dransfield Properties - which owns the town's Sanderson Arcade shopping centre.

Morpeth Town Council has also objected as have 50 members of the public, including a "significant number" of town centre businesses.

Opposition is based on perceived impact on those town centre businesses, four kilometres away, and claims there is no justification for such a large area of fashion retailing.

Chamber of trade spokesman John Beynon, who runs Bowman and Co TV repairs on Dark Lane, said: "It started off years ago as a garden centre which is great for the town but they sell numerous amounts of different things now.

"And if they are expanding that, that can only damage the town and the chamber of trade are here to promote and protect the town centre. …

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