Arcade would still be no competition

If the so-called Clarendon Arcade is intended to allow Leamington to compete as a retail destination with Touchwood Solihull as our district council officials think, how about comparing the two.

The shop-floor area of the Clarendon Arcade is less than a quarter that of the Touchwood Centre (and Touchwood is not the only shopping centre in Solihull).

The footprint of Touchwood, if placed in Leamington, would occupy far more than the Chandos Street car park. In fact all the blocks between the Parade, Clarendon Street, Clarendon Avenue and Warwick Street would have to be cleared to make space for it.

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For Bill Hunt to say on behalf of the council that “the Chandos Street site is the only realistic and suitable site” is to say that we cannot face the reality of competing directly with Touchwood. We are not willing to accept just how much of the town centre would have to be cleared for a site big enough to have any impact on Leamington’s retail position in this region.

Cllr Moira-Ann Grainger says “one of the biggest problems we have in Leamington is that we don’t have any big units” (House of Fraser might argue - it’s nearly twice the size of the ‘flagship’ unit in Clarendon Arcade), but if that is the case, don’t waste space creating more small units which we already have all over the town.

If we really need a second big unit in the town centre (and that has not been shown, despite what the council officers assert), forget the Chandos Street site, and instead redevelop (again) the east side of the Parade north of Boots and put one genuinely big unit there. And if we cannot face that, let’s learn from the Regent Arcade/Livery Street experience. Let’s not create any more disconnected oddments. - Richard Taulbut, Lillington.