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TK Maxx plans for Redhill refused by council

By Surrey Mirror  |  Posted: February 16, 2012

The Mercedes garage on Brighton Road in Redhill

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A PLAN to bring a TK Maxx store to Redhill has been rejected, leaving residents angry that yet another chance to improve shopping in the town has been blocked.

The proposal would have transformed the Mercedes-Benz garage in Brighton Road into a major clothing outlet.

Reigate and Banstead Borough Council has remained tight-lipped about the identity of the interested retailer, but this week it emerged it was TK Maxx.

The planning inspectorate's recent decision to uphold the council's planning refusal comes as the local authority launches a consultation into its own plan to develop the exact same stretch as a key retail area in the future.

The site is less than 360 metres from the town centre, leaving many residents disappointed and angry that the affordable fashion store has been rejected.

Peter Stevens, 56, who works in The Garland pub, Brighton Road, said: "The bridge is a bit of an iron curtain. If the shopping units came in it would bring a lot of new faces into Redhill.

"At least they would be within striking range of the town centre then."

Jenny Gascoigne, 23, unemployed, of Brighton Road, said: "I can't believe they are turning down the chance to make something more of this area. It looks miserable. Redhill town centre is rubbish and there isn't anywhere I want to shop, so we go to Crawley. Building a shop like TK Maxx here wouldn't stop people going into the town centre, but it might stop people going to Crawley.

"The town centre isn't so far away you couldn't walk there. It would take all of three minutes. It's daft. They want to protect Redhill? Well this is Redhill too."

Retired firefighter Paul Monticelli, 64, of Garland Road, agreed. He said: "We need something at this end of town too, we are overlooked on this side. Better to get business in, at least there might be some travel between the two."

But the decision was welcomed by Andy Nash, manager of Redhill's Belfry Shopping Centre.

He said: "In the Belfry we are holding our own, but it could be an awful lot better. There is a strategy for Redhill which is to work from the inside out.

"There is a lot of desire to make Redhill a success, and there is a local shopping centre and development opportunities there. If you use the potential in the town, it will grow outwards.

"Bad planning is a dangerous thing. You only have to look at how the ring road around Cromwell Road severed that area from the town centre to see how one bad decision can have an effect for years."

According to its own action plan for the town, the council wants the Brighton Road area to be developed for retail within 11 to 15 years, but says regeneration of the town centre would have to happen first. It wants to turn the Marketfield Way car park into a cinema and shops, and also build a supermarket, 100 homes and a hotel at the railway station and car park.

A council spokeswoman said this week a new clothing store on the Mercedes-Benz site "is likely to have a damaging effect on existing town centre shops by attracting shoppers out of the town centre core".

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  • MarkSurrey  |  February 18 2012, 4:37AM

    I think the best thing people can do is get rid of the morons that run the council. Clearly they are incompetent. Surely there must be some way of forcing them to change the decision; after all they are supposed to do what is best for the town and its occupants. I suspect someone on the council has taken a bung from the existing shops to keep TK max out, can't prove it, but it's such a bad decision there has to be an underlying reason. There must be some system that people can refer a council decision to and get it overturned and councillors removed if need be. I know in the US this sort of thing is usually debated at town meetings, any councillor going against the wishes of the towns people doesn't last long.

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  • Giantsized  |  February 18 2012, 12:43AM

    This is an appalling decision by the council which is undoubtedly the direct result of the Belfry's influence. In these tough economic times when record numbers of retailers are abandoning their outlets the council had an opportunity to welcome an investment that would not only provide a variety of product choices to the consumers who live in this town, generate investment from other retailers in terms of opening outlets in the town centre, and would have created jobs at the same time. I applaud the council's plans to regenerate the town centre but who are they kidding but themselves? Approving this site 500 yards outside the town centre would not have made a difference to anyone except the Belfry who have proved unsuccessful in attracting any new decent retail investment for at least the past 5 years. I am personally annoyed at the lack of retail choices in Redhill and until the council consider these proposals with an open mind and understand the feeling of the community local shopping revenue will continue to be lost to the likes of Crawley and Croydon. This is in effect the Belfry shooting themselves in the foot. I would personally sign a petition to have the council review this decision and would welcome this retailer with open arms given the current state the town commonly referred to as "Deadhill".

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  • a1non  |  February 17 2012, 9:56AM

    Are the council stupid - TK Maxx would bring more people to Redhill - they sell things you can't buy in Redhill - the Belfry is a joke and people travel to Crawley to shop in TK Maxx and then because they are in that town do the rest of their shopping there. Very soon Wilkinsons will be open in Crawley at the old T J Hughes site so there will be even less reason to shop in Redhill as you will be able to get everything in Crawley - the shopping facilities are far better than Redhill - there was a chance here to do something with Redhill and just because the council has its own agenda the people who live in this town are left with nothing. Besides the shopping facilities - much needed jobs would have been created.

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