Green light given for retail parks

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WORK can finally start on the long-awaited £50 million Cromwell Road Retail Park development in Wisbech after plans were given the green light by Fenland Council.

The decision was met with delight by Jonathan Clogg, of Cromwell Retail Park Limited, who has been fighting for around four years to get the development underway.

“We are absolutely delighted,” he said, speaking for himself, partner Tesco and The Light Cinemas, all who had representatives at the planning meeting.

Mr Clogg said they could now start working out the technical aspects of the development, with plans to start work towards the end of this year and get the first phase open by the end of next year.

The planning committee discussed the plans for the development – for a new Tesco Extra, eight-screen cinema and restaurants on the former Wisbech Stadium site and nine retail units on the current Tesco site – at a meeting in Fenland Hall on Thursday.

Both plans were passed unanimously by councillors, with many expressing their support, despite an apparent campaign by some Wisbech residents who had been emailing councillors to try to get the plans refused.

Cllr Simon King, who is councillor for the ward the development falls in, said that they were all concerned about the impact out-of-town retail parks were having on town centres, but added “the horse has bolted”; out-of-town shopping already exists in Wisbech and the developers were going to be putting money into the town centre with tourist information touchscreens and improved transport links to the town centre.

He said: “I really hope you will support this application. It’s the right thing for Wisbech, the right thing for Fenland and the right thing for the people who live here.”

Cllr Jan French also spoke to the committee and said: “I believe this application will be good for Wisbech.”

The applications were passed subject to conditions, including Section 106 payments to the sum of £280,000 and the provision of three touchscreens.