Plans to transform a derelict site in Haverhill into a thriving retail and employment park have moved a step forward.
Haverhill Town Council’s planning committee scrutinised plans for the multi-million pound retail park in Ehringhausen Way at a meeting on Tuesday.
The front half of the site has been earmarked for retail with Lidl, Home Bargains and Pets at Home already agreeing to take a unit after discussions with developer Howard Group. It will bring an investment of £5 million into the town over the next two years and looks to generate 110 full and part-time jobs.
The rear half of the site is intended for an employment development which will bring a further £3.5 million in investment and 140 new jobs.
The scheme’s planning and retail statement, produced by planners at Shrimplin Brown, says the park aims to ‘compliment’ the town centre, rather than ‘compete’ with it.
Town Clerk Colin Poole said the site, which has been vacant since 2004, aimed to attract shoppers to the town.
What we want is to create a gravitational pull so when people come to Haverhill for shopping they have more choicesColin Poole
“I think the biggest issue for people who have shops in the high street is the residents who drive to Bury, Sudbury and Cambridge to do their shopping,” he said.
“They are much bigger and have more shops. Once they are in Cambridge they are there for the day.
“What we want is to create a gravitational pull so when people come to Haverhill for shopping they have more choices. The more shopping offers we have in the town the better for everybody.”
Mr Poole said the council has no objections to the plans but had passed on their concerns about the number of lorry movements in the staff car park and the amount of traffic on Stour Valley Road and Ehringshausen Way.
They also argue a bus stop should be created in the area.
Colin Brown, development manager at Howard Group, said: “We believe the retail park will complement the current retail offering and will keep local people shopping in local outlets.
“Haverhill has often struggled with ‘retail leak’ where local residents choose to shop in surrounding towns and cities due to the lack of a diverse retail offering.
“By bringing three new national retailers into the town we will be adding to the retail mix, creating hundreds of new jobs and bringing to life what has been an unproductive and vacant site for a number of years.”