7:20am Sunday 11th September 2011
There are fresh fears about the future vitality of Haverfordwest’s town centre as another popular retail chain looks to establish an out-of-town store.
Matalan has shown an interest in taking over two empty units at Springfield Retail Park, Withybush, alongside Homebase, Wickes and Pets at Home.
However, planning permission is required to change the rules on what the empty units can be used for. Currently the site is limited to selling ‘bulky’ goods.
There has been a mixed reaction to the planning application, with concerns about the effect it will have on the town centre.
Andrew Thompson, president of Haverfordwest Chamber of Commerce, said: “We think it’s great news that Matalan wants to come to Haverfordwest; any multinational company has got to be a good thing for the town.
“However we would hope that new businesses look at all the available units in the town centre before moving into a bulk purchase site.
“So many town centres are disappearing nowadays, so we have to decide; do we or do we not want a town centre?
“A town centre like Haverfordwest needs to be vibrant and it’s important to have a good anchor store.”
A formal objection to the plans has been made on the behalf of Riverside Quay LLP – landlord of Riverside Shopping Centre – highlighting available retail spaces closer to town.
But Matalan’s planning and retail statement supporting the plans rejects units in and at the edge of the town centre as unsuitable due to their small size and poor access.
The outcome of the planning application is due to be decided by planning officers.
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