Councillors have approved plans for a major expansion to Spalding’s Springfields Shopping Outlet.
South Holland District Council’s planning committee on Wednesday voted in favour of the plans to build 18 new units on the site of the former National Farmers Union building.
The proposals include a £200,000 contribution towards the town’s high street, extra publicity through a media co-ordinator, information screens and its own promotional channels.
Speaking on behalf of the development, Jeremy Williams of ID Planning said the extension would attract “premium and fashion” retailers.
“With over 2.4 million visitors a year Springfield is a premier tourist destination in the region and can bring benefits to the rest of the town,” he said.
“However, Springfield is constantly striving to improve its offer as it faces ever more competition, not just another outlet retail destinations, such as the scheme of Grantham coming forward, but also from internet shopping.
“The current proposal enables Springfields to build on previous success in a difficult economic climate as an important tourist destination drawing people to Spalding that will benefit the whole town.”
It is expected around 350 jobs would be created at the centre and Mr Williams expected 90% of them would live within 15miles.
Chairman of the committee Councillor James Avery said objections to the plans had been “minimal”.
“We can see clearly that this will become a significantly more prominent site on the edge of Spalding and, in essence, would be a retail gateway to both Springfields and hopefully to Spalding as a whole.”
Those opposed to the plans raised worries over the impact of traffic on the A16, while others remained concerned over the impact of the town centre.
Councillor Chris Brewis wondered “how many other jobs in the area would be lost” compared to the new build’s creation.
Councillor Andrew Woolf said the fact the 18 units would not be in the town “lays heavy with me”.
“There’s no doubt that when Springfields has come to greater Spalding, then it had its rewards, but as we’ve seen, the town centre is dying and to allow something like this to be to be passed I think it will further make it die.”
The move followed the announcement of the closure of Hills, a major department store in Spalding’s Market Place.
A statement from the 60-year-old business blamed the extension to Springfields along with the impact of the coronavirus and the rise in internet shopping.