Decision date due for new town centre shopping centre in Leamington

OFFICIALS have recommended giving the go-ahead to plans for a new £90 million shopping centre in Leamington.

Warwick District Council planning committee is due to meet at Leamington town hall on Tuesday at 6pm decide whether to permit developer Wilson Bowden’s application to build the 21,500sq m Clarendon Arcade on the site of the Chandos Street car park.

The arcade would house 35 to 40 shops and have 512 parking spaces.

Plans were first submitted in March 2010 and revised following opposition from residents and conservation groups. The new plans were submitted in July.

Opponents of the scheme had argued there was no need for another shopping centre, citing the number of empty shops, as well as its impact on traffic, nearby homes and the town’s historic grid pattern.

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But developers had argued that national chains would be attracted by larger, more flexible new premises.

A report to councillors reads: “This is a major scheme for Leamington Town Centre which will secure significant improvements in the retail offer for local residents and visitors to the town and will sustain the vitality and viability of the town centre.”

The company was chosen as the district council’s preferred developer in 2007, after the council identified a need for a new shopping centre if Leamington was to compete with nearby Solihull.

• See Friday’s Courier for more and next week’s paper for a full report of the meeting.