PLANS have been announced for a new £8 million redevelopment to Stroud’s Union Street, for a supermarket and an extended market square.
London developer Set Minds is planning to convert the Market Tavern pub, formally known as the Pelican, which closed earlier this year. Set Minds already owns the nearby Cornhill Shopping centre.
The Cornhill area would be completely transformed under the plan. The ground floor of the pub would be extended back and moved underneath the overhanging market square and converted into the supermarkets food section. The food court, covering a space of 26,000 sq feet, would be a similar size to the nearby Waitrose.
The market square would then be extended forward to form a level surface on top of the supermarket’s ground floor. The pub's first floor would be converted and extended into a 14,000 sq foot space, where non-food items, such as clothing and household goods would be sold.
The name of the supermarket chain is yet to be confirmed, but the site could lead to the expansion of the Cornhill Market Square by 50 per cent. Property agency Montgomery Watton reassured shoppers this week that the new development will help, rather than threaten the weekly Stroud Farmers’ Market.
Despite the new plans being the fourth major supermarket proposal in Stroud, agency principle Andrew Watton said: “This is a much needed, real town centre supermarket.
“The design and character of the store will be developed in line with the wishes of Stroud” he said.
The decision on which of the three other proposed Stroud supermarkets will be successful will be made at a district council meeting on Thursday, July 24.
Planning applications for the Union Street development have not yet been submitted. The public will have the chance to voice opinion during public consultation exercises. He also said: "A website would be set-up for people to give their views as part of an ongoing discussion forum.
“It will be designed to take advantage of the Brunel Mall car park, which is at present under-used during the week. The new supermarket should be seen as a landmark building" said Mr Watton. Stroud Farmer’s Market operator Gerb Gerbrands said: “I have a good relationship with the owners of the Cornhill Shopping Area. I have no doubt that the work they are going to do will not disrupt the farmers market.
“However, a supermarket in the town centre will be a challenge for independent businesses and retailers in the town."
Ray Hill, manager of Sunshine Health Shop, Church Street, Stroud, said the idea of another new supermarket was “ridiculous”.
“I have experience of how these things work- we were here when the first Tesco opened and we lost 10 per cent of our business. Next was the Waitrose, and 10 per cent also went. When the Sainsbury’s opened five per cent was lost. We always lose business initially, but get it back over a period of time.
“I’ll lose a bit, but time will tell whether it will force me to close down” said Mr Hill.