Councillors have voted unanimously to recommend rejection of planes for ‘phase two’ of the Harwood Retail Centre off Station Road in the centre of Gillingham involving a mixed development of shows, takeaway food outlets and homes.
Property developer Robert Tizzard is applying to build six retail units for use as ‘shops, restaurants and cafes, and hot food takeaway’ plus five duplex apartments on the site next to Pets at Home off Le Neubourg Way. In their application the developers state: ‘The proposed addition of new retail units and apartments responds to the demands of the current market for increased choice and availability of outlets.
‘It will enhance this area of Gillingham by creating a building, modern in appearance and function and providing a new, modern retail units and apartments.’
They propose that access to the site will be through the existing Harwood Retail centre on Station Road, with a one-way exit leading out onto Newbury. The development includes plans for 22 car parking spaces.
But on Monday 25 September members of the Gillingham Town Council planning committee voted unanimously to recommend rejection of the plans. A number of councillors described the scale of the proposed development as ‘overbearing’ and there was also concern about its impact on existing High Street cafes and fast-food outlets.
However, the main concern was over plans for the exit into the already congested and busy Newbury.
Councillor Val Pothecary said the plans for the one-way exit on that street were ‘beyond belief’ while Councillor Barry Von Clemens described it as ‘utter madness’.
Committee chairman Councillor David Walsh said they were keen to encourage business development of the site but ‘it had to be the right one’.
The application will now be considered by North Dorset District Council.