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Frome Westway expansion planned

AN EXTENDED sales area, an improved faзade onto Cork Street, and modern retail accommodation are part of new plans to expand the Westway shopping centre. 

Maybrook Properties Ltd, who own the centre, say the development will help ensure Frome has a variety of shops and keep it competitive with other towns.

A planning application has been submitted to Mendip District Council to redevelop and extend part of the centre to provide a 14,500 sq ft store fronting on to Cork Street car park and a store of up to 9,281 sq ft on the existing shopping centre level. The two levels could be combined to provide one large store of nearly 24,000 sq ft.

The scheme comprises extending and amalgamating existing units to create one large sales area at lower ground level. The first floor space, currently used as storage, will be turned into a retail area directly accessed from the Cork Street car park.

The existing slope of the Cork Street car park will be raised, and a pedestrian walkway and escalator between upper and lower shopping levels will also to be provided.

Maybrook Properties Ltd say, “The existing somewhat unattractive façade fronting the car park will be redeveloped with glazing, cladding and climbing plants. Additional trees will also be planted around the car park which, together with those trees along Chateaux Gautier Walk, create a superb setting for the modern building.

“The development provides modern retail accommodation with service access, goods lifts and large sales areas. Frome is well served with smaller shops in its historical streets such as Catherine Hill and Cheap Street, but the town centre needs a combination of shop sizes to attract the larger national chains and ensure the vitality of the town is maintained.”

Obtaining planning permission would allow Maybrook Properties to negotiate with retailers and set out their shopping space accordingly. It hopes that the development will attract a major retailer(s), who could occupy the upper level or space on both levels.

Gareth Hunt, managing director said, “We are talking to parties already, but clearly when we don’t have planning permission it is hard to get them into serious negotiations, so this is the first step.

“We’ll be talking to the [existing] tenants when we do undertake the scheme and we’ll endeavour to incorporate them in the scheme. If the new occupier doesn’t want all the space, we’ll accommodate that.”

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