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Next Home & Garden to open in High Wycombe

NEXT has been granted permission to build an “iconic” home and garden store in High Wycombe.

The retail giant will construct the 7,261sq meter flagship store on the site of the park-and-ride at Cressex Island, creating 220 new jobs.

Next will provide a new bus service linking the site to Wycombe and will also pay £1.34m in a Community Infrastructure Levy which council chiefs said would be used to enhance the town centre.

In backing the project at Wycombe District Council’s Planning Committee meeting on Wednesday, Cllr Hugh McCarty said: “I am really impressed and I think the design is ground-breaking.

“It gives life and vitality to the area and we are desperate for jobs in that part of town. I’m really pleased the CIL money comes back to the town, as we are committed to improving the town centre.

“We are assembling a budget which will make a big difference [to the town]. The bus service is great...I am very happy with the application.”

Members raised concerns about parking and the effect the store would have on the town centre – but WDC’s retail advisor does not believe the home and garden outlet would have an adverse impact.

Cllr Clive Harriss backed Cllr McCarthy and said any fears the town centre could lose business would be mitigated by people coming in to Wycombe for Next and the revamped John Lewis.

He said: “As someone who moved to this area about ten years ago, John Lewis is a destination shop and by having Next nearby will only encourage people to come in to Wycombe off the motorway.”

House of Fraser, the Eden Shopping Centre, High Wycombe Business Improvement District Company, the Wycombe Society and the Nicholson Shopping Centre in Maidenhead raised objections based on design and fears shoppers would drive out of town to Cressex.

Chris Quinsee, speaking on behalf of Eden and House of Fraser, added the Gas Works site in Lily’s Walk would be a better home for the store.

But National Grid, which previously raised objections, has indicated its site is no longer available – not that Next wanted it anyway.

Adrian Trotter, Next's head of property, said: “The gas works is not suitable and we would not site a store there whether it is available or not.

“The home and garden store will be one of the first nationally, it’s a new format. It’s an iconic building and a limited number are proposed.

“It’s in addition to the store in the town centre, we are committed to Eden and spelt that out at the beginning, and nothing has changed.”

A new park-and-ride will be built as part of the Handy Cross redevelopment, which will also feature a fresh sports centre, hotel and office blocks.

WDC will lay-on a “like-for-like” temporary park-and-ride facility – with toilets and a shelter – while the new coachway and Next store is being constructed.

Source : Simon Farr – Bucks Free Press

07 June 2013
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