Scunthorpe out-of-town retail park given go-ahead

Plans for a £20m retail development has been approved, despite some local traders objecting to the scheme.

The 40,000 sq ft complex on the edge of Scunthorpe will include four units and space for a Marks and Spencer store.

The proposal has been criticised by shop owners who say it could have a devastating effect on businesses in the town centre.

But some local residents have organised a 2,000-signature petition in favour of the development.

Earlier in the year, Marks and Spencer closed its Scunthorpe store. It had said years of falling sales meant the store was no longer commercially viable.

Developers Simons plan to build the retail park two miles from the town centre on the site of a former garden centre near Glanford Park football stadium, and said it would bring up to 300 jobs to the area.

Chris Newsome, development director for Simons, said: "This is fantastic news for Scunthorpe. We've seen a huge amount of support for the plans over the last few months, so we know the councillors' decision will be welcomed by the vast majority of people in the town."

However, some local traders are against plans, saying people would stop coming to the town centre resulting in business closures, job losses and the "death of the high street".

Tony Coe, who runs a jewellery store, said: "It could pull some of the other retailers out of the town centre.

"We've lost quite a few retailers in the past years. Where does it end?"

The developer said construction work is expected to begin in 2012.

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