Asda decision should be delayed

By a County Press reporter

Thursday, March 20, 2014


A DECISION on whether supermarket giant Asda should be allowed to build a superstore on the outskirts of Newport, should be delayed to allow the town to plan for its impact.

Asda first announced its intention to build a store close to St George’s Park in December 2010, later prompting an alternative site to be put forward by a group of businessmen in a similar location.

The Isle of Wight Council is due to consider both applications at a special meeting in the coming weeks.

Newport Business Association has urged the council to delay a decision however, to allow the completion of a cohesive plan.

Chairman Steve Smith said: "The business association believes that this new major out of town development would be a defining moment, significantly contributing to the decline of the county town as a viable centre.

"The association recognises that town centres have to reshape and resize around modern lifestyle and shopping habits, but believe there is room for a destination shopping town on the Island which could thrive.

"Newport town has evolved ad-hoc and history has not been kind, there is inadequate provision of accessible and affordable parking. Edge of town stores and out of town stores are in fragmented locations and do not create destination shopping zones and therefore links to the town centre.

"Isle of Wight Council has at some level the responsibility for the planning decision and will be the benefactor of a capital receipt for the sale of the land should the current proposal go ahead. At the same time the town centre parking charges levied continue to increase, taxing shoppers and having a negative effect on passing trade and small purchase trips. This significantly contributes to town centre decline."

He added: "Time to reflect while a strategic plan is completed will be beneficial to ensure the right deal for Newport. To come out of the process with an out of town superstore which in no way supports town sustainability would be unforgivable."

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