Retail was the residents top priority from the first round of consultation.
We undertook an independent retail assessment for Newton Aycliffe. This would provide an up to date assessment from the retailers themselves. We know the residents want more retail BUT would the retailers come and invest here. Unfortunately only 3, out of 129, retailers said they were interested in investing in Newton Aycliffe. The full Soft Market Retail Assessment. provides a full report of steps taken and the findings.
We were convinced that with the investment by Hitachi, associated new jobs and the prospect of around 2000 new houses the retails findings would be very different. One of the main problems is that peoples’ retail habits are changing so fast even the retailers can’t keep up with them. Even Sainsbury’s pulled out of a nearly complete very large development near Middlesbrough.
* improved retail for Newton Aycliffe
* improved evening economy in the Town Centre
* better choice of shops, including national brands
* a retail park
* cheaper rents in the Town Centre
We totally recognised and acknowledged how important retail was to the residents, hence investing in the independent retail assessment and challenging the County Durham Plan.
Due to the findings of the Soft Market Retail Assessment the Retail Thematic Group only met once the notes of the meeting are provided here. 24 August 2015.
As you all know the Town Centre is privately owned and we can only deal with planning matters through the Neighbourhood Plan, so we are unable to change, influence or otherwise the rents charged in the Town Centre. Please direct any complaints to the Town Centre Manager or Phil Wilson your Local MP.
Residents said different shops would encourage them to use the Town Centre more and the owners of the Town Centre have been busy working with Phil Wilson MP and the social enterprise initiative.