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Decision on new Shrewsbury Sports Direct store put off over highways concerns

By Aimee Jones | Meole Brace | News | Published:

A decision on a new Sports Direct store at a county retail park has been delayed because councillors want more information about its impact on traffic.

Sports Direct in Shrewsbury. Picture: Google StreetView

Members of Shropshire Council's central planning committee deferred the application to build the shop on land Meole Brace Retail Park in Shrewsbury.

The council's planning officers had recommended the development for approval, but committee members asked for more details from the authority's highways department before they make a decision.

Sports Direct wants to move from its current position on the park into a new 2,787sqm building between TK Maxx and Argos.

Mayor of Shrewsbury, Councillor Jane MacKenzie asked members to refuse planning permission at the meeting at Shirehall on Thursday.

She raised concerns about access and competition with the town centre.

"The viability of the town centre's independent business is already hanging in the balance with an increase in parking charges, an increase in business rates and possible increased rent," she said.

"Meole Brace Retail Park is already known as gridlock alley. We need a new entrance and exit and I think everyone who uses it agrees. Frankly I think it's an insult because we have all waited bumper to bumper trying to get in or out.

"I think the retail park owners have shown arrogance in going ahead with this. They think the inconvenience is not their problem."

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Councillor Roger Evans suggested the proposed new store would take £3 million a year away from the town centre.

The application has already faced delay over concerns about the impact of the development on traffic.

Amended proposals were submitted to address the issues, with a plan to create a third exit lane on the Hereford Road Roundabout.

Councillor Kevin Pardy said he had recently sat in his car for 40 minutes trying to get out of the retail park and fears a new store would add to the problems.

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He added: "In 40 minutes I could get to Telford or Birmingham and there-and-then I decided I wouldn't go back there over the festive period.

"There's no doubt there needs to be better access. Highways are telling us there won't be an increase in traffic but there is because it will leave a vacant premises to be filled and the same with Toys R Us which is closing."

The application will return to committee at a later date once the highways department has provided more details about vehicle movement, emergency vehicle access, and the creation of a new lane onto the roundabout.

Aimee Jones

By Aimee Jones
@aimeejones_star

Senior reporter based at the Shropshire Star's Shrewsbury office, covering Shrewsbury, North Shropshire and South Shropshire.

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