A Durham retail park is set for a second multi-million pound expansion within 12 months.
The Arnison Centre, in Pity Me, near Durham City, is in line for new shops, refurbished shop frontages, extra car parking spaces and better road and traffic arrangements.
The latest scheme comes just a year after plans for three new shops and another parking shake-up were agreed; and even more changes could follow, with councillors pushing for a new vehicle exit onto Rotary Way.
Under the current proposals, there would be two new shops, between Outfit and Homebase; Homebase would be demolished to make way for two smaller units; and the shop frontages of Nike, Poundland, Lakeland, Brantano, Next, Poundstretcher and Outfit would be improved with a new canope.
The customer car park would be reorganised, creating an extra 59 spaces, and another 50 would be made available in the staff-only area.
An extra traffic lane would be installed between the Rotary Way and Lidl roundabouts to relieve congestion and there would be better pedestrian routes around the complex.
Local county councillor Mark Wilkes said: “We have been working hard for some time to address the parking and access issues at the Arnison Centre.
Cllr Wilkes and his colleagues Cllrs Amanda Hopgood and Mamie Simmons want an extra exit onto Rotary Way installed next to M&S.
He said: “We have been given assurances that if this becomes necessary it will be revisited.
“We will be holding the council to this commitment. Overall I am confident this will be a major improvement.”
Plans for a takeaway have been dropped and concerns over boy racers have been raised with the police.
Since the Arnison Centre opened 25 years ago, it has gradually moved from bulky goods to convenience shopping.
An M&S branch opened in 2013, several new cafes and restaurants arrived earlier this year and further units are still under construction.
CBRE Global Investors and Centros, which are both involved in managing the complex for owners ESN, have submitted two planning applications for the latest stage of its redevelopment and consultation has now begun.
The first, for the Homebase, car parking and highways changes, is expected to go before a council committee in the summer; while the second, for the shop frontages refurbishment, will be decided by council officers.
More details are available online at durham.gov.uk/planning, using the references DM/15/01142/FPA and DM/15/01143/FPA.
If agreed, the works are expected to be completed by summer 2016.
Source: Durham Advertiser