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Page last updated at 18:31 GMT, Tuesday, 23 November 2010
Reaction to Preston's 700m Tithebarn shopping centre
The Tithebarn development
The inspector recommended to reject the Tithebarn development

The £700m Tithebarn development has officially got the go ahead by the government after 12 years.

It will bring shops, cinema, restaurants and offices as well as a new bus station to Preston.

The deputy leader of Preston City Council Eric Fazackerley is "absolutely delighted" the scheme has finally got government approval.

And he said the entire county will benefit from the development.

Mr Fazackerley said: "This will enhance Preston and the rest of Lancashire, too."

While Preston City Council celebrates the news, we find out if the rest of the county welcomes the decision from rival shopping centres and retailers to those opposed to the project...

Deepdale Shopping Park

Colin Gilligan, the manager of Deepdale Shopping Park, believes Tithebarn will drive more shoppers to all retail parks in the city.

Mr Milligan said: "It's very good for Preston as a city. Lots of north west cities have already been developed and Preston has missed out on this.

"It rates Preston as a more attractive proposition in retail terms and should be welcomed by everyone associated with Preston."

St George's Centre

Likewise, the manager of St George's Centre in Preston, which already attracts 13 million visitors a year, thinks it will boost their numbers even further.

Ken Williams said:"The scheme promises to attract many new shoppers into Preston city centre, which will benefit existing retailers and shopping centres.

"Alongside Preston Tithebarn, St George's Centre will have a big role in attracting visitors to the city in the future."

Preston Historical Society

David Hindle of Preston Historical Society has concerns, in particular, over the loss of the city's bus station.

Mr Hindle explained: "I am a Prestonian and I have mixed feelings about the development.

"I fear for the future of certain historic buildings that will be lost and worry Preston, like many other towns and cities, is going to be featureless."

Mr Hindle continued: "It is a real pity the bus station is going; it is the sacrificial lamb and it is a shame because it is an impressive, iconic building."

Blackburn with Darwen Council

Adam Scott is the strategic director of regeneration for Blackburn with Darwen Council who opposed the plans for the scheme.

The inspector's report supported their opposition but Communities and Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles over-ruled the recommendation to reject the development.

Mr Scott said the decision might be good for the regeneration of Preston but he feared the implications for Blackburn.

"We feel vindicated our arguments were heard but disappointed that planning permission for this huge and potentially damaging shopping centre."

He continued: "There's only so much shopping money in a region and we're worried about the loss of our market share to Preston which is going to building a shopping centre way out of proportion with what it has got now and way out of proportion with what we have got."

Toy shop

The manager of Mercers Toys, Rose Fowler, said the new shopping development is bad news for Blackburn.

"It will affect us because it is a bigger shopping environment but hopefully, as we are an independent shop and offer toys that are a little bit different, we will be OK."

"Business is tough right now; people are really careful about spending money as many people are worried about losing their jobs," said Ms Fowler who set up Mercers Toys on Darwen Street after the closure of the original Mercers store where she worked on Northgate.

Houndshill, Blackpool

The manager of Blackpool's Houndshill shopping centre, John Holt, admitted to having "great concern" over the Tithebarn development but they now have to "turn the negative into a positive".

Mr Holt said: "We need use it to our advantage not least the footfall we will get once it is established.

"We're really happy with Houndshill with ever increasing visitor numbers since the re-development."

He added: "Good luck to Preston."

Designer clothes

Andrew Gilda, who owns Zilch designer clothes shop on Abingdon Street, said the development will deter shoppers from coming to Blackpool, especially the scale of the plans for Tithebarn.

"Any enhancing of the shopping experience in Preston is to Blackpool's detriment especially in challenging times," said Mr Gilda.

Specialist shoes

Specialist shoe shop John Nelson in Houndshill has been trading in Blackpool for thirty years.

Owner Mark Christmas said: "It will have an impact but I'm not thinking about it because it won't be completed for years.

"Blackpool has a lot of positives in the next year to focus on such as the revamp of the promenade and the Tower."

He continued: "It is a tough time for retailers and we did take a knock at Houndshill while they did the refurbishment but we are reaping the rewards year on year now since its completion."

"Luckily we have established loyal customers and they can't buy the made to order shoes we sell so Tithebarn won't house our competitors," he added.




SEE ALSO
City development gets green light
23 Nov 10 |  Lancashire
City regeneration under scrutiny
18 May 10 |  Lancashire


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