Businesses to reveal retail site alternative

An alternative to a controversial £110 million retail development in Cornwall is to be put forward by a new organisation of business leaders.

The multi-million-pound proposal on brownfield land close to St Austell town centre – which it is claimed will see the arrival of big-name retailers, jobs, affordable homes and improved transport links – is expected to be submitted to Cornwall Council planners later this week.

Together St Austell, which is spearheading the alternative scheme, said that, unlike the Coyte Farm development, the scale of their plans will not ‘suck the life out of existing businesses’ in the town centre and farther afield, and will put local services in the ‘heart’ of the community. The proposals for the 65-acre Coyte Farm development, submitted by Mercian Developments Ltd and Metric Properties, have received fierce opposition from some quarters. However, some have welcomed the plans, which incorporate a Marks and Spencer, Next, River Island and Sainsbury’s, as well as a Care home and hotel and restaurant.

Together St Austell, formed by St Austell Bay Chamber of Commerce, the Business Improvement District (BID), Ellandi – owner of White River Place shopping centre – along with CSA Architects, Colvase Estate, Broadley Park Developments and Westcountry Land, say its proposal will be more sustainable for the town. The organisation confirmed that its proposed development will be a short walk from the town centre, could be reached by a shuttle bus service, and will attract big-name retailers – but has not said where it will be based. John Kneller, chairman of the Together St Austell group, said: “These are exciting plans that will secure St Austell’s future. These plans are led by a team of local experts who want to see St Austell grow and flourish, rather than a single developer looking to make a quick buck from a massive out-of-town development. The Together St Austell plans make good use of brownfield sites and edge-of-town opportunities which can be linked to the town centre in a sustainable way.”

The plans will be unveiled to St Austell Town Council on Monday, ahead of Cornwall Council’s strategic planning committee determining the Coyte Farm bid in January.