Frome could cash in on Asda extension plan
Asda could be asked for cash to improve Frome town centre if it wants to increase the size of its Warminster Road store.
The report on the impact the proposed Frome Asda extension could have on the town has been published at last.
Asda wants to create a delivery hub, as well as more space for non-food items, extending the store by about 20,000sq ft. The application was submitted in November 2011. The report has suggested that up to £2 million worth of trade in comparison goods such as clothes, pet food, CDs and DVDs and health and beauty products could be diverted to the store – around 2.6 per cent of the town centre’s trade.
The independent report was commissioned by Mendip District Council several months ago to give councillors and officers an idea of how the extension could affect business elsewhere in the town.
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The 28-page report, compiled by Gloucester-based planning consultants, MWA, looked at many areas including the impact on the town centre, the current levels of trading for the convenience stores such as Marks & Spencer, the Co-operative and Lidl, alternative sites and the question of Saxonvale development.
It stated the convenience store trade in the town centre was significantly under-trading but comparison stores were strong, as were food, drink and financial services.
It also suggested, if the plans are given the go-ahead, Asda should be asked to contribute to future town centre developments. The report concluded that it would be inevitable there would be some reduction in town centre trade.
It states in its overall conclusions: “In our view the impact of the extension would have an adverse impact on the town centre given the degree to which it would draw further convenience goods turnover away from existing stores which are clearly significantly under-performing.
“In our opinion, having regard to the centre as a whole and its particularly strong performance in the comparison goods sector together with the range of food and drink and financial services outlets, the impact would not be significantly adverse as to warrant refusing planning permission.”