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Retailers could quit Monks Cross shopping park if expansion plans are rejected
BOSSES at a York shopping centre have warned that rejecting its £20 million expansion plans could lead to an exodus of its stores.
The trustees of Monks Cross Shopping Park want to build smaller units and fit mezzanine floors to existing outlets in a move which they said will create 225 new jobs and is aimed at attracting big-name retailers.
But an independent report by planning experts Drivers Jonas Deloitte (DJD) said there were sufficient grounds to refuse permission for the scheme and a separate application by Oakgate (Monks Cross) Ltd for John Lewis and Marks & Spencer stores alongside a community stadium.
The report was commissioned by City of York Council and published this week.
The consultants said the developments would have a “significantly adverse” impact on city-centre businesses, which could lose £14.91 million in trade to an expanded Monks Cross Shopping Park in 2016.
Both applications go before the council’s planning committee on May 17.
Monks Cross centre manager Katherine Sharp said the DJD report suggested “further controls” over the centre’s proposals would “make the scheme acceptable”, which they now wanted to look into.
“The report takes into consideration one aspect of the proposals – retail impact – but there are several elements to consider, including the creation of about 225 valuable jobs, £20 million investment in retailing and our commitment to attracting desirable names to York,” she said.
“We strongly believe our planning application is a positive step for Monks Cross. Many of the retailers need to reconfigure their stores, and without planning consent there is a strong risk they will be forced to leave the city.”
Meanwhile, York City chairman Jason McGill has written to council planners urging them to support the stadium scheme, saying its rejection would mean the club would have to go part-time for the 2013/14 season and axe its youth programme, as well as possibly having to sell its Bootham Crescent ground.
Referring to the possibility of City playing at Wembley twice in the next few weeks, Mr McGill wrote: “It would be a sad situation for sport in York if we were then to face part-time football and possible homelessness.
“A new community stadium offers a secure, long-term, prosperous future, not only for professional football in York, but also for rugby league and athletics.”