Downtown's £125 million designer outlet plans for Grantham are approved
Plans for a £125 million designer retail outlet at Downtown have been approved.
The Oldrids and Downtown plans were given the go ahead this afternoon following a four hour meeting of South Kesteven District Council's development management committee. Members voted 10 in favour of and three against the proposal.
Oldrids and Downtown say the designer outlet will create a further 1,700 jobs.
The site surrounding the existing Downtown store will be redeveloped with a raft of new facilities, including a new 220,425 sq ft designer outlet centre. Designed to attract premium brands and with space for 107 new shops, the outlet centre will be delivered in partnership with Freeport Retail, one of Europe’s leading developers and operators of designer outlet centres.
The proposals also include a new ‘Downtown at Home’ store, an indoor leisure unit, a new tourist information and visitor centre, and the redevelopment of the existing garden centre to create a new and more modern environment. The retail and leisure facilities will be complemented by space for new and growing businesses, including a high-tech hub and incubator start-up offices.
At this morning's meeting, district councillor Rosemary Kaberry-Brown spoke in favour of the plan. She said: “It will bring trade to Grantham as property owners in Grantham will need to reduce their rates. We should congratulate the officers for all the work they’ve done for this application."
But SKDC cabinet member Coun Jacky Smith was against, saying: “This is not just going to be a retail centre. It’s going to be another version of Grantham. We will have a deserted town centre. I don’t want to sign the death warrant for the town centre which is what we are being asked to do here.”
Oldrids and Downtown managing director Richard Broadhead, told the meeting: “A huge amount of work has gone into this application. We are very excited about creating something special for Grantham. Retailers are telling us to ‘get on with it.’ We are ready to go.”
And the company's finance director, Peter Isaac, said: “We are a family company who currently employ 700 people, most of who live locally. This application is crucial to our business and the people it currently employs. Grantham is important to us and we are important to Grantham.”