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Developer scales back plans
A COUNCILLOR has welcomed a decision by a developer to scale back its proposals to expand an out-of-town shopping centre, following concerns expressed over parking.
Centros, which manages the Arnison Centre, in Pity Me, on the outskirts of Durham City, has applied for planning permission to add mezzanine floors to three existing units.
But it has withdrawn proposals to build an additional unit next to McDonald's for a new restaurant.
Durham county councillor Mark Wilkes had raised concerns over plans for the additional unit, saying it would result in the loss of 43 parking spaces.
Coun Wilkes said today (Monday, January 4): “Centros have removed their application for an additional pod which will protect 43 parking spaces and help retain the tree line to the outer edge of the site.
“They will be going ahead with adding the extra floorspace (mezzanines) to three shop units, which will help to rent them out and ensure the long-term sustainability of the Arnison Centre.
“Hopefully the other empty units on the site will also now be taken.”
Coun Wilkes said he was also working with the council on wider landscaping issues and has asked for a report on the traffic issues on Finchale Road and Front Street and the impact of heavy goods vehicles in the area.
He added: “Overall I think that this is a balanced approach which will help to fill empty units and ensure 43 parking spaces are not lost."
The latest proposals come as Marks and Spencer prepares to open a new store on the park in early summer, creating several hundred jobs.
A Centros spokesman said improving the vacant units would attract more retailers and give shoppers more choice.