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Wren Kitchens and The Range set sights on Gloucester Retail Park

Two big stores are eyeing up empty units on retail parks on the outskirts of Gloucester.

Kitchen suppliers Wren Kitchens want to split the former Comet store at St Oswald's retail park into two – and occupy one half.

Comet fell into administration in January and has since been occupied temporarily by charity shop YMCA.

But before it can go ahead there, Wren Kitchens is being asked by city planners why it could not set up the same business in the city centre in a unit such as the former Marks and Spencer on Northgate Street.

Gloucester City Council planner Adam Brown, in his report to councillors, said: "Concerns have been raised that the proposal allows the creation of another smaller unit with no proposed tenant.

"Provided the applicant demonstrates why they could not operate from city centre sites, which the retail consultant indicates may be possible, the proposals would be acceptable."

Meanwhile, The Range home goods store is hoping to move into the former Focus DIY store on Gloucester Retail Park, on Eastern Avenue.

The three units on that site were built back in October 1987 but it was stipulated by planning chiefs at the time that the business were restricted to the sale of carpets, furniture, DIY and electrical goods.

In an application by The Range, there are plans to vary that restriction to allow the sale of other items such as hobby and craft supplies, pet food and camping equipment – allowing up to 30 per cent of the floor space to be for something other than what the original permission was intended for.

The Range says it would create up to 100 full and part time jobs as part of the £1.5million project.
Gloucester City Council planning officer Joann Meaneaud said The Range would not consider moving into the old cinema at the Peel Centre when it is closed down in December because it want to move to Gloucester sooner than that.

She said: "The scheme would not be delivered within a reasonable time scale in the context of The Range's immediate requirement for a store in Gloucester."

Both plans will be decided upon by city councillors next Tuesday.

Source :

02 July 2013
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