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King's Lynn Homebase at risk if Next redevelopment plans go ahead

Plans to expand one store on a Lynn retail park, which managers say would create around 15 jobs have put the future of its neighbour in doubt.

Homebase officials have confirmed they are in talks with the owners of their site on Hansa Road, following the submission of a planning application for the premises.

Developers want to remodel the site to enable home and fashion retailer Next to move into an expanded store on the Pierpoint Retail Park.

And a Homebase spokesman said: “Negotiations are ongoing and therefore we are unable to comment any further at this stage.

“Homebase continues to be committed to providing employment opportunities and great customer service to people in the area.”

Metric Property King’s Lynn Ltd applied for planning permission to revamp two of its existing units on the Pierpoint Retail Park, which are currently occupied by Homebase and Next.

Documents submitted to West Norfolk Council in support of the application reveal that, if approved, the development would enable Next to expand into the Homebase premises.

In a letter published as part of a retail assessment of the scheme, David Hunt, Next’s regional estates manager, said the plan would increase the number of people employed at the store to more than 100 and enable the firm to expand its home department seven-fold.

He also said the expansion plan would not affect the future of the company’s other store in the town, which is one of more than 100 towns across the country which operates both town centre and out-of-town sites.

Mr Hunt wrote: “The company has recently signed a new ten-year lease on its High Street premises and invested some £200,000 in an extensive refurbishment of that store, demonstrating Next’s continued commitment to the town centre.”

Source : Lynn News

15 May 2014
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