Bridge Street Quarter Regeneration – Retail Space and the Masterplan Framework

Warrington Market and the Masterplan Framework

Executive Summary – Key Outputs

To recap – the Masterplan identifies three phases of development:

Phase One
A food store of 6,800sqm (2,600sqm at mezzanine level); a market of 4,356sqm; retail space of 6,270sqm; offices totalling 1,093sqm. An underground car park with 555 parking spaces (200 for food store). Sixty apartments.

Phase Two
A new hotel/JJB/offices/residential block; additional retail space of 1,425sqm; additional offices totalling 4,353 sqm. An additional eighty-five apartments.

Phase Three
A further ninety apartments.

Analysis – Retail Space totalling 7,695sqm

When Warrington became a New Town in 1968 its Development Corporation specifically encouraged the building of out of town retail areas accessed by new roads. The Gemini retail park, in particular, to the north-west of Warrington, today draws significant numbers of potential shoppers away from the town centre.

A Retail and Leisure Study (appendices) prepared for Warrington Borough Council in July 2006, identified the town centre’s main weakness as lack of diversity with 47% of the current shops being mainstream chain stores. Although the number of chain stores present is taken as an indicator of success in assessments of a town’s ‘health’, this does not take into consideration the needs of local small businesses and independent traders or that section of the community which prefers to support them.

Rents in Warrington were around £1,400 per square metre per year in 2006 which the report concludes ‘compares favourably’ with other towns in the region. In real terms, however, the independent retail trader faces around £30,000 a year minimum in rental for an average sized shop, favourable, perhaps, for a chain, but a considerable sum for a small business.

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Bridge Street Quarter Regeneration – Key Outputs of the Masterplan Framework

Executive Summary

Executive Summary – Key Outputs

The Masterplan identifies three phases of development:

Phase One
A food store of 6,800sqm (2,600sqm at mezzanine level); a market of 4,356sqm; retail space of 6,270sqm; offices totalling 1,093sqm. An underground car park with 555 parking spaces (200 for food store). Sixty apartments.

Phase Two
A new hotel/JJB/offices/residential block; additional retail space of 1,425sqm; additional offices totalling 4,353 sqm. An additional eighty-five apartments.

Phase Three
A further ninety apartments.

Analysis – Food Store 6,800sqm with 2,600sqm at mezzanine level

This seems quite an unusual suggestion for such a prominent, central location, and it would be interesting to know the rationale behind it. Warrington already has two of the major supermarkets, Asda and Sainsbury’s, within the town centre, a 3 minute and a 5 minute walk from Bridge Street respectively, as well as another two, Tesco and Morrison’s, about half a mile from Bridge Street and a large Lidl on Fennel Street. ‘Regeneration’ in those terms is therefore already amply covered; I rather thought that regenerating a town centre usually involved some sort of cultural focus??

To put the proposed new food store into context, the Asda at Cockhedge is 6540 sqm, Sainsbury’s on Church Street is 6805sqm and Morrisons on Greenhall’s Avenue is 7610sqm. Even with the mezzanine level this will still take up a large part of the proposed area and could dominate the development site disproportionately.

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