Extra shops at Robin Park '˜won't hit town'

A proposed new extension to Wigan's Robin Retail Park should not compromise trading in the town centre, according to agents behind the deal.
An artists impression of the proposed new unitsAn artists impression of the proposed new units
An artists impression of the proposed new units

Another four smaller stores have been earmarked for the centre of the Robin Park retail area by Henderson UK Property.

And around 40 jobs would be created if all of the units, beside the existing blocks containing Costa, Card Factory, Subway and Carphone Warehouse, are fully occupied.

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But planning consultants have been quick to stress that the blueprint, lodged with Wigan Council, will not put any added strain on shopping trends in the town centre a mile away.

In a planning statement, agent Colin Burnett said the additional 567m sq of commercial space proposed was not even enough to trigger the requirement for a full retail assessment to be submitted to the authority.

He added: “The limited scale and nature of these proposed complementary facilities at Robin Retail Park will not divert spending away from the town centre.

“The proposals are simply too small to give rise to any perceptible change in shopping patterns.”

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Retail studies drafted in 2014 estimated that the town centre enjoyed a market share off 22.7 per cent, giving a turnover of £220m annually, which was expected to rise to £251m by 2019, based on current shopping trends.

Meanwhile Robin Retail Park, by the same token, had a market share of 13.1 per cent, producing a turnover of £127.1m, rising to £144m by next year.

Mr Burnett has also stressed that the new development is not designed to attract any extra “anchor” stores or family restaurants to the site, which already boasts a KFC drive-thru, a Subway and Burger King.

He has told planners that all four of the immediately adjoining chains also have sister operations located in the town centre, where Wigan Council announced last week it had acquired The Galleries shopping centre.

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It is being contended by Henderson UK that the loss of car parking, which would make way for the new parade, could be easily accommodated within Robin Retail Park.

No confirmed operators have so far been named for the extra four stores.

The property company also says it has examined other possible alternative locations within the town centre – including The Galleries, Standishgate and Mesnes Street - and found that most of them were not large enough for the scheme’s needs.