Disagreement on how St Austell will be hit
TWO FURTHER reports on the impact Coyte Farm will have on town centre businesses offer contrasting views on the potential loss of trade.
A retail impact assessment carried out by Deloitte LLP on behalf of Ellandi, who bought the White River shopping centre in St Austell town in June 2012, draws similar conclusions to the GVA report.
However, the retail impact assessment carried out by Barton Willmore LLP on behalf of the developers suggest the diversion of trade from the town centre resulting from the shopping centre at Coyte Farm would be much lower.
The Deloitte report suggests the development would have a "significantly adverse effect" on the town centre and estimates the loss of trade would be in the region of 23 per cent.
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It concludes: "The total impact for both convenience and comparison goods of the Coyte Farm proposals alone on St Austell town centre would be around -23 per cent. This rises to -30 per cent when taking into account other commitments and emerging proposals.
"Such levels of trade diversion would be significantly adverse for any centre but would be fatal to the vitality and viability of St Austell."
In addition the authors suggest if Coyte Farm fails to attract big name retailers, the shopping centre will be in direct competition with the town centre for both potential future tenants, as well as existing town centre retailers.
"There is sufficient existing vacant floorspace within the town centre and two development sites (Beech Road and HSS Hire) to accommodate more floorspace than that proposed at Coyte Farm and would easily meet the optimistic level of comparison goods retail need identified for St Austell in the GVA Study until around 2026," the report adds.
However Barton Willmore LLP's report, on behalf of the developers, said the diversion of trade from the town centre would only be around 8 per cent.
It states: "The degree of diversion from St Austell town centre is considered to be acceptable and is likely to come from national multiple retailers in the centre, in particular the clothing/footwear and homewares sectors."
It added that the proposed development will "not have a significant adverse impact on existing or future town centre investment".
Mark Robinson, director at Ellandi, said the GVA and Deloitte reports show the development at Coyte Farm would bring no economic benefit to St Austell.
"Both GVA and Deloitte have independently suggested that Coyte Farm would have no net economic benefit at all, just displace existing jobs and spending, often from local businesses, from within St Austell town centre," Mr Robinson said.
Simon Hoare, spokesperson for Coyte Farm, said: "The Deloitte report does not bear scrutiny."
He claims it was written prior to the submission of the planning application and said it was vital for the town to remain competitive.
"There are retail developments currently having a huge impact on St Austell town centre – Truro and Plymouth," he said.
He also said the empty shopping units in the town centre would not be suitable locations for the retailers who would be based at Coyte Farm.
"Marks & Spencer has made it very clear.
"They have looked at White River and it couldn't be made to work for their requirements," he said.
"If townspeople want St Austell to have a Marks & Spencer on their doorstep it will be Coyte Farm or nowhere.
"You don't get the likes of Marks & Spencer trading next door to Poundland."