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Westway development gets the green light but concerns raised over Asda plans

PLANS to expand the Westway Shopping Centre have moved forward, with planning permission granted by Mendip District Council. However, the owners of the shopping centre have expressed concern that their plans will be affected by Asda’s extension plans. 

Changes at the Westway Shopping Centre comprise an extended sales area, an improved facade onto Cork Street, and modern retail accommodation are part of the plans.

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

With planning permission granted, Maybrook is now talking to retailers to see how the scheme can  progress.

But it fears that the proposed extension at Asda – which is due to go to Mendip District Council for decision this week – will affect plans for the Westway Shopping Centre.

Gareth Hunt, managing director of Maybrook Properties Ltd said, “I am pleased to confirm that Maybrook has secured planning consent for the extension of the Westway, giving us the opportunity to provide a 14,000 sq ft retail store directly fronting the Cork Street car park. We are now progressing our negotiations with national retailers and hope to be announcing their commitment to the scheme early in the New Year.

“However, we are surprised to hear that planners at Mendip Council are proposing to grant Asda planning permission for their large blatantly unsustainable out-of-town extension in lieu of a £250,000 payment. This will undoubtedly affect the viability of our plans to enhance the Westway and seems completely contrary to both planning guidance and the desires of the residents of Frome.”

Mendip District Council’s planners have recommended that Asda’s application should be approved, while on the 29th November, Frome Town Council recommended the proposal should be refused.

Mendip District Council’s approval of Maybrook’s Westway application gives permission 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, can be turned into a retail area directly accessed from the Cork Street car park.

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