Grantham’s £100m designer outlet village has taken a major step forward with the signing of legal agreements between its developers and local councils.
The move comes as Downtown, the promoters of a rival scheme at the other side of Grantham, say they expect their plans to go before South Kesteven District Council next month.
Rioja Developments and local landowners Buckminster plans to create 130 shops for luxury brands at the south side of Grantham, on the King 31 site next to the proposed Grantham Southern Relief Road. They say the village will create 1,500 jobs in Grantham, attract 3.5 million visitors a year, 350,000 of whom will visit Grantham town centre.
The Section 106 agreement between the developers, South Kesteven District and Lincolnshire County Councils, include measures aimed to benefit Grantham town centre and mitigate any harmful effects the shopping village may bring.
The developers will fund items including a designated bus service from the outlet to Grantham town centre, £265,000 towards road improvements at Gainsborough Corner, a pop-up shop to promote Grantham events and attractions, £75,000 towards funding town centre tourism initiatives, better signange to guide people to town and advise on parking spaces, £75,000 to employ a town centre manager, and £65,000 to fund a retail skills and leisure skills academy.
South Kesteven District Council had approved the plans in December but the signing of the agreement means work can now formally start.
Rioja Developments managing director Giles Membrey said: “We have been working on our construction timetable but we can now press on with confidence and we hope to have a start on site soon.”
Buckminster managing director Stephen Vickers called the signing of the agreement “a great day for Grantham.”
He added: “It’s not just the town centre that will benefit. Because, as a trip to Grantham Designer Outlet Village could be a family day out, other tourist attractions such as Belton House and Belvoir Castle, and other retail destinations such as Downtown, will also reap considerable rewards.”
Downtown, meanwhile, is progressing with its own £125m plan at Gonerby Junction, which it says will create 1,700 new jobs and safeguard 700 existing ones.
Managing director Richard Broadhead said: “Our planning application is progressing and we’re now in the final stages of consultation. We expect our application to come before SKDC’s Development Management Committee within the next month.
“We’re confident that we’ll receive planning consent and look forward to commencing building the scheme as soon as possible. These are exciting times and we’re aware that many people are keen for us to get started.”
South Kesteven District Council confirmed the signing of the agreement ratified planning approval given in December.
A spokesman added: “The Downtown scheme has just gone out for re-consultation as additional information has been submitted and that consultation period ends in 30 days on May 6. We are waiting for those consultation replies before it can go before committee.”