Need for Clarendon Arcade is not credible

Numerous letters in the Courier have been from local residents saying there is no need for Clarendon Arcade, a proposed shopping precinct three times bigger than the Chandos Street car park. So, why does the council think we need this arcade when there are so many empty shops?

The answer is buried in a retail and leisure study by Strategic Perspectives LLP that the council commissioned. Published in 2009, it tried to predict whether Leamington would need more shops by 2016. It assumed that the population would rise by 10.3 per cent, demand for comparison (luxury) goods would rise each year, beginning slowly then at three per year by 2016. Surprisingly, it also assumed that there would be very little impact from online shopping, changing by only 1.7 per cent over these seven years. In addition, it assumed that there were no large development sites within Leamington so it ignored potential areas like the Ford Site.

In short, it assumed that there would be more people, all spending more money and so concluded that we need more shops!? It may have been possible to accept these assumptions at the time; but with other developments happening within Leamington and continued economic problems, the council’s insistence that we need Clarendon Arcade is simply not credible.

See - Ian Davison, Warwick and Leamington Green Party, Milverton Crescent West, Leamington.

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