Sportswear giant Sports Direct had submitted a change of use planning application to take on one of the units currently being built at the emerging retail park, located to the north-east of the city centre and currently containing Homebase.
The application caused plenty of opposition, with business leaders claiming it would damage the ‘vitality and viability of Chichester City Centre’.
That was because Sports Direct wanted to remove the condition which refused the sale of clothing at Barnfield Drive, put in when planning for the site was approved to ensure it would not create a rival to city centre shopping.
In its official objection, the Chichester Chamber of Commerce and Industry said relaxing the condition would ‘encourage and set precedent for other Chichester based retailers to move away from the city centre causing further disruption to the already overcrowded road network’.
A spokesperson for Brookhouse Group, agents for Barnfield Drive, confirmed: “Brookhouse have decided not to proceed with Sports Direct, and have exchanged contracts with Iceland Food Warehouse”.
Iceland wants to take over the unit and open a Food Warehouse, traditionally twice the size of its high street stores, and selling a much larger range of goods.
The company said it had no plans to close its current store in South Street, adding that it had a ‘long-standing requirement for an additional store in the Chichester area’.
Iceland is seeking permission to enable a food retailer to occupy Unit A2, but its plans also face opposition.
In an official objection, Chichester City Council said it ‘considered that the provision of a further food store in this location will have a significant adverse impact on the vitality and viability of the central shopping area’.
Discount supermarket Aldi is already signed up to one of the units, joining Wickes, Halfords and the already operating Homebase as the completed Phase One line-up.
Should Iceland be granted planning permission, it would mean four supermarkets operating in close proximity, with Sainsbury’s and Lidl located immediately south, close to the Portfield Roundabout.
Phase Two of Barnfield Drive, which is bigger than Phase One, has outline planning permission.
No retailers have as yet been made public but Brookhouse Group said announcements would be made ‘in the near future’.
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