UP TO 300 jobs could be created by a new out-of-town retail park at Rustington.
Five large stores and a restaurant are proposed for the site, west of Mill Lane and south of the A259, where planning permission was previously given for a car showrooms development.
Brighton-based developer Totem Commercial says that, subject to planning approval, it has already agreed a letting with the “anchor” tenant – a big-name national business intended to act as a magnet both for shoppers and for other potential retailers.
Negotiations with other possible occupiers are at an advanced stage. Totem has been in talks for the past year with retailers who wanted to come to the Littlehampton area, but had to go Worthing, Chichester and Shoreham instead, due to the lack of suitable premises.
Stephen Selway, of Totem, said the proposals reflected a high level of confidence in the Littlehampton area’s economy.
“While we cannot name retailers at the current time, for reasons of commercial confidentiality, we believe that this scheme will have significant economic benefits for the area.
“Providing suitable accommodation for these retailers will not only help to retain the existing retail spend, reducing the need for people travel to other towns for their shopping, but it will also help to draw additional shoppers into the area.”
It is proposed that one of the units will house a DIY store with a garden centre and, perhaps surprisingly, another will be for a food retailer, in spite of the recent openings of Asda, Waitrose and Lidl, and with new Morrisons and Sainsbury’s supermarkets waiting in the wings.
The three other units will be selling household goods. Access will be off Mill Lane and the A259.
Answering concerns the retail park could hit shopping centres in Littlehampton and Rustington, Totem said it had commissioned a retail impact study which concluded the requirements of these types of larger store operator (not currently represented in the area) could not be met within local high streets or town centres.
“The brands in question will complement rather than compete with existing centres, helping to retain and draw further retail spend to the area.”
Attractive design will be a key feature of the development. Instead of the traditional, boxy “sheds” of most retail parks, Totem’s units will have flowing lines and large glazed areas. They will have green, growing roofs, covered in sedum plants – believed to be a first for a major retail park.
Two public presentations on the scheme have been arranged, at the John de Bohun Room, Woodland Centre, Woodlands Avenue, Rustington, on Monday at 7.30pm, and at Angmering Village Hall on Tuesday. A website, www.newroadratailpark.co.uk has more information.