A planned retail and restaurant scheme in Kingswood, which would attract inward investment of £32m and create over 250 jobs for local people, has received a groundswell of public support in the run up to it being reviewed at a planning committee meeting in late July, 2017.
The joint venture between Kingswood Parks Development Company and Kier Property would see a 10-unit development of shops and restaurants on land adjacent to the new flagship Next home and garden store, which opened on Ashcombe Road in November 2016. It would also see the addition of 450 new car parking spaces, plus 58 cycle spaces.
A significant number of local residents have come forward to express their support for the plans in the final weeks running up to a decision being made by Hull City Council, with residents invited to share their views formally with the developers over the past eight weeks and 91.6 per cent of those responding stating they are in support of the plans.
Comments received from those who responded to the developers’ call for feedback via a posted mailout sent to every household in Kingswood noted that they were positive about the prospect of the development, which will increase the popularity of Kingswood as a place to live, work, shop and socialise, as well as creating more job opportunities for local people.
The level of positive comments being sent to Hull City Council’s planning department by the local community has also been encouraging, which developers are delighted to see and hope others will continue to formally notify the council of their support for the plans between now and the committee meeting. Only a very small number of objections are recorded on the council’s planning portal and are from other commercial organisations, which the developers expected would object as a matter of course.
Plans for the development, which is designed to be a complementary offer to Hull city centre rather than competing with it and would potentially open in 2019 if approved, were resubmitted to Hull City Council in April, after a previous application was refused on retail policy grounds.
Developers are confident that the new application overcomes any barriers highlighted previously and that their new proposals are compliant thanks to tighter conditions, which will legally prevent any retailers from closing and relocating to Kingswood from the city centre, along with a minimum unit size for the new shops and restaurants ensuring a very different offer to that available on the high street. Additionally, emerging case law and Secretary of State decisions support the developers’ position.
Dan Hyde, Kier Property’s senior development manager, said: “I am delighted to see the local community in Kingswood and the surrounding area making such a strong display of support for our exciting new development plans.
“We are completely focused on diversifying Hull’s retail offer, ultimately complementing the wider retail offer available here and working together with the city centre to make Hull a stronger retail destination as a whole. We want to support with attracting people to Hull to spend money and also retaining local people’s spend here, preventing leakage to other towns and cities offering similar variety when it comes to retail.
“Our plans represent a major inward investment of £32m and significant job creation for local people – in these uncertain economic times, with Brexit looming and households feeling the effects of inflation, we are showing a real commitment to Hull and ensuring it continues to be a city on the rise.”
Mark Bisbey, chair of the Kingswood Residents’ Association, said: “The majority of residents want to see this development given the go-ahead. The plans were widely supported last year and I am pleased to see that developers are still pushing forward with it.
“The most important factor for local people is the jobs creation and investment into our local area. I am pleased to hear that the potential for this is still on the horizon and I hope that local people will really get behind the plans and be positive about this major investment in our area that could go to another city if we don’t embrace it.”
A decision is expected to be made on July 26th 2017 by Hull City Council’s planning committee.