EXCLUSIVE: Lidl coming to Nailsea as part of £10 million investment
By Carol_Deacon | Wednesday, November 21, 2012, 19:57
A massive £10 million investment for Nailsea including a new discount supermarket was revealed at a traders meeting this week by the town centre landlords.
Lidl is coming to Nailsea as part of a £10 million revamp of town centre
A close up of the site plan showing where the new Lidl store will go at Stockway South
From left councillor Jeremy Blatchford, commercial lettings boss Ian Thompson, town centre landlord Mark Robinson and chamber of trade chairman Janet Hendey
The new Lidl store together with a small single-storey retail unit on the old petrol filling site would face Stockway South and create 50 jobs for the town, said Ellandi partner Mark Robinson, the management company for Crown Glass Shopping Centre.
Mr Robinson said he very much hoped Majestic wine company will move into the new single-story unit and other specialist businesses would take the opportunity of low costs rents being offered on the empty smaller units at Collier's Walk.
Mr Robinson said: "All this will put Nailsea in the position of a 'go to' place."
However, Nailsea would lose 67 car parking spaces at Stockway South and half a dozen protected trees if the proposals go ahead.
The entrance to the main car park would change with a smaller 12 spaces on a roundabout between the pizza takeway and wine shop.
The old boarded-up Sycamore House care home will be redeveloped into a smart warden-controlled complex for the elderly and its green space in front will become an enhanced amenity area planted with additional saplings to replace those lost by the new development.
The proposed Lidl at 15,000 sq ft will be more than twice the size of the Iceland store at 7,000 sq ft but will be dwarfed by the Waitrose and Tesco supermarkets which are both approximately 45,000 sq ft.
A detailed planning application is likely to be submitted to North Somerset Council in the spring next year and if given the go-ahead the project is likely to be completed within 12-18 months.
The declining economic situation scuttled a previous plan of attracting Sainsbury's to Nailsea and building at the end of Christ Church Close where the library and deserted Weston College complex stand.
More than 50 community leaders and business people attended the Tuesday open evening to hear about the plans which were prompted by a Mary Portas-style report commissioned earlier this year.
Under the umbrella of Team Nailsea – made up of the chamber of trade and commerce, shopping centre bosses and the town council - research group AMT-i was appointed to carry out a survey to see what action can be taken to bolster trade.
People using the town centre said the number of charity shops needed to be reduced, empty shops filled and the variety of shops increased as well as the physical appearance of the main shopping area enhanced.
They concluded the continuation of free car parking in the centre was essential to keep trade alive.
Nailsea Town Council chairman Rod Lees said: "This has got to be good for the whole town - it is fantastic."
North Somerset councillor Jeremy Blatchford said he knew many high-flyers who were choosing to swap the city to move to Nailsea for a better lifestyle.
He said: "Nailsea is an exciting place to live and shop and with this investment we are seeing a vision being delivered."
The open evening was hosted at Sion House which Ellandi had just finished upgrading at a cost of more than £250,000.
The distinctive blue four-storey building which was built more than a quarter of a century ago has been fitted with new double glazed windows, upgraded reception area and staircases, improved staff facilities to include a ground floor shower and cycle racks, new toilet furnishings on all floors, improved energy efficient lighting and a new lift.
Since the refit letting agent Ian Thompson, of Thompson Commercial has successfully found tenants for most of the office suites, said Mr Robinson.
He added: "The image and branding of the shopping centre is well overdue for a refresh and that's something we are going to bring forward in the new year.
"We are keen that the shopping centre isn't seen as separate from the High Street and other retail areas of the town.
"Nailsea is one of the best performing towns in our group and every single new national retailer has decided to stay - they are all making money which doesn't happen in a lot of places.
"We will be delighted to foster specialist new businesses rent free if someone wants to open a butcher's, artisan bakers or a deli which will add to a vibrant shopping centre."
Nailsea Chamber of Trade and Commerce chairman Janet Hendey spoke about the combined effort to stop car parking charges being introduced in the town and the diverse make up of the chamber which includes representatives of multi-nationals, small businesses, retailers and those from professional services including both medical centres in the town.
Mrs Hendey, a partner at Wards solicitors said: "It is very good news for Nailsea that the shopping centre owners see it as a town worth investing in with a positive future; the proposed new development will bring a considerable amount of new employment to the town which will benefit everyone in the long run."
Mr Thompson said: "Retailers like Waitrose, WH Smith and Wetherspoons who have all opened in the past 18 months tell me they are all trading above expectations."
Crown Glass Shopping Centre has a total of 90,000 sq ft of retail space divided into 40 separate shops, a further 40,000 sq ft of office space in various buildings and 40 flats.
At this time only four shops are available to let as a further three vacant units are still leased to William Hill, Peacocks and Going Places