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Plans for homes dubbed ‘death of town centre’ refused by committee

A town’s hopes for a supermarket are still alive after housing plans for the only available site were refused.

Warsop councillors spoke out against an application for 19 homes on the town centre plot during a Mansfield District Council planning committee on Monday (November 27).

Some said losing it as a potential site would have meant “the death of the town centre”.

The scheme from Robert Bryant Tanbry Construction Ltd would have built 19 affordable homes on land between Church Street and Burns Lane.

However, the site was allocated for retail and leisure in the town’s local plan, and local leaders begged the committee to “hold their nerve”.

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Burns Lane

Warsop Parish Council chair Karen Hardy said: “We were thrilled when this was recognised as a retail site in the local plan.

“We had meetings with the owner about shops and, until recently, there were positive reports.

“It was very disappointing to find this project was being abandoned in favour of more housing.

“This is the only viable town centre site.

“Without it, Warsop town centre will be condemned to the death we’re seeing elsewhere.

“The Local Plan shouldn’t be a tick box exercise which can be ignored.”

Parish councillor Roy Bulter said: “We’ve had so many promises over the last 15 years from the likes of Tesco, Aldi and Netto.

“The people of Warsop want a supermarket so they don’t have to go to Shirebrook or jump on a bus, which isn’t easy for the elderly.

“It would be easy to give up and accept more housing rather than hold your nerve.

“Who knows what opportunities might come in the next few years?”

Mansfield District Council’s planning officers had recommended the scheme for approval, saying it seemed unlikely there would be any serious interest.

The committee was told that two high street names had previously been interested before the pandemic, but one pulled out due to financial instability and the other changed its location strategy.

Food outlets, charity shops, bakeries, bookmakers and the Post Office had also been approached around that time.

However, committee members believed fresh publicity could revive the site’s prospects.

Councillor Jack Stephenson (Lab) said: “If the likes of Tesco and Netto have been interested, it shows there has been support.

“A lot of things have changed since 2020.

“Once the site is lost, it’s gone forever.”

The district council planning committee members voted unanimously to reject the application, saying it would set a harmful precedent to overrule the local plan.

After the meeting, jubilant Warsop councillors said they would continue to seek a retail occupant.

Karen Harding said: “We want to build the town centre up, not restrict it. One flagship shop is all we need. The parish council will be working hard towards that.”

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