Urmston artist impression

Urmston set to climb retail league if plans go ahead

The Manchester suburb of Urmston will leap 450 places up the table of Retail Footprint centres in the UK if a new shopping development is built, according to a report commissioned by the scheme's developer.

The report by retail information analyst CACI on behalf of Ask Developments found that, post development, Urmston will climb to 335th place from its current position of 785th.

Full planning consent was granted in May for 140,000 sq ft of retail and leisure space, including a 50,000 sq ft Sainsbury's supermarket, a new library, shops and 144 apartments.

Demolition of council offices has started and the library will move into temporary accommodation in October.

However, further progress depends on the outcome of a Public Inquiry held in August into a Compulsory Purchase Order made on several properties. Retailers In Store and Farm Foods objected to the CPO and must wait for the decision from Hazel Blears, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, over whether the CPO can be enforced.

The Sainsbury's store, the library above it and part of the residential do not depend on the CPO.

Urmston currently experiences high levels of shopping spend leakage, with 96% of shoppers going elsewhere, such as the nearby Trafford Centre and Manchester city centre.

The report says the new centre will reduce the need for shoppers to travel to neighbouring areas and increase additional spending in Urmston.

CACI estimates that, post development, Urmston's goods expenditure will increase from £23.5m to £77.2m with most money expected to be spent on durable goods (29%) and clothing and footwear (27%), the latter of which it is currently lacking. Leisure goods (21%), personal care (9%), house and home (8%) and personal goods (6%) made up the rest of the predicted spending.

Julie Moorhouse, Ask's development executive, said: "The findings are extremely useful to us in knowing which retailers to target. A new centre and Sainsbury's store will attract shoppers back to Urmston but it is very interesting to see how much expenditure is currently being lost to other towns and centres and to see exactly where and how that can be recouped and benefit the whole town.

"We were aware that Urmston should have a better retail offer that includes a mix of good high street and independent outlets and this report confirms what a significant difference that will make to the town."

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