CONCERNS over the future of Rustington’s village centre have been raised in response to plans for a new Marks and Spencer store in Angmering.
Graham Tyler, chairman of Rustington Parish Council, has voiced his worries over the impact a new food store could have on business in the village’s shopping precinct.
It came as more than 200 people attended exhibition days on Friday and Saturday (December 6) at the Woodlands Centre, in Woodlands Avenue, into the proposals to build a new M&S Simply Food store and family pub along the A259, west of the New Road retail park, by Brook Lane, which, combined, could create 100 jobs.
Mr Tyler fears trade might dip if people were attracted away from the centre to the Marks and Spencer development – particularly as the eastern side of the high street, by Ash Lane, has already lost one anchor shop – the Co-operative – and is braced to lose the Mini Chandlers Worthing site, which will become part of the new Chandlers development on the outskirts of the village.
Speaking of the M&S plans, Mr Tyler said: “For the general area and for the boost in jobs it has to be very good.
“However, my main concern is the village centre.
“At the moment, we don’t have many empty premises in Rustington – which is good.
“But we still have the Co-op that is still being developed then we will have the Chandlers Mini site becoming vacant.”
Mr Tyler added: “I certainly welcome the development for the area as a whole, not just for Rustington and Angmering.”
Other worries Mr Tyler had were with access from the site, back on to the A259.
He would like to see some further road improvements to bolster safety. He was also concerned about the pedestrian railway crossing nearby.
The plans for the new food store have not yet been formerly submitted by applicants Commercial Development Properties Ltd (CDP) to Arun District Council.
However, the proposals include an 11,000 sq ft M&S Simply Food shop, with an in-store bakery and café serving Fairtrade tea and coffee.
The store will also offer fresh flowers and cards on top of its food and drink lines and would create 35 new full-time jobs and 20 part-time positions.
James Marshall, from CDP Ltd, felt the feedback from all who came to the event was very positive and said: “We were really pleased with the support we have received and we really do value all feedback.
“We are strongly committed to working with the local parish councils, councillors and communities, we will now review all the feedback and look to incorporate this into our evolving plans where possible and appropriate.”