April 21, 2022 5.37 pm

£125m outlet shopping centre near Grantham approved for third time

Councillors voted again to approve

Plans for a £125 million shopping village near Grantham have been given the go ahead for the third time.

Oldrid and Co’s outline plans for the site off Old Great North Road in Great Gonerby has previously attracted the attention of major cities and sparked fears it could be a town centre killer.

It was originally approved in February 2019, then again in September 2021.

South Kesteven District Council’s Planning Committee gave the slightly modified plans the go ahead again on Thursday after the council and developers agreed a series of Section 106 Agreements.

The plans include 107 designer outlet stores, nearly 2,000 parking spaces, offices, leisure provision – likely to be indoor play areas for families – and a tourism information centre.

The latest include a reduced footprint and a multi-storey car park.

The scheme would create up to 240 local temporary construction jobs per year over the 2.5 year construction period and up to 1,620 full time equivalent jobs after.

Objectors include authorities such as the City of Lincoln Council, Newark and Sherwood District Council and Peterborough City Council, who feared the development, along with another approved down the road and developed by a company called Rioja and Buckminster, could draw shoppers away.

Intu, which owns and manages 17 prime regional shopping centres in the UK including Intu Victoria Centre and intu Broadmarsh in Nottingham and in Derby city centre, had also raised concerns.

The competing designer outlet centre by Buckminster Estates and Rioja had also been involved in lengthy arguments about the development since it was first planned, with warnings including that having two similar centres will have a detrimental effect on each other as well as the local area.

Jeremy Fieldsend, from Buckminster, said the retail assessment was “materially deficient”.

He said the Section 106 agreement would not secure the controls the council hoped for.

“You will not be securing the standard of designer outlet that has been presented and what might be much worse, you will be authorising an out of town retail park that could decimate the town centre.”

An artist’s impression of the new development.

On the flip side, however, the site has plenty of support, with more than 200 people writing to the council praising the development.

It also has support from Grantham College and the owners of the adjacent MOTO A1 / Gonerby Moor services.

Richard Broadhead, from Oldrid, said delays the DOC had experienced had been “frustrating”.

“A huge amount of work has gone into our proposal and making sure it ticks all the right boxes for Grantham, for the wider region, for our Downtown business and for the future,” he said.

He added the company was “more determined than ever” to deliver the development.

Officers told councillors that the worst case impact would not significantly harm the vitality or viability nor any planned investment in any existing town centres.

Proposing approval, Councillor Phil Dilks said: “This has been around for five years, this committee has passed it or something similar previously.”

He felt the council would be in a “reasonably safe or good position” to defend their decision should objectors take it to judicial review.

Mitigation measures on the site include a tourist information and visitor centre, a pop-up shop to showcase local goods and improved bus services.

No poaching clauses and occupancy restrictions have also been included in the development to stop businesses being taken from the town centre.