New Sovereign Harbour and Arndale shopping centres would have been sustainable but ‘squabbles’ are to blame for the problems, say members of the Sovereign Harbour Residents Association.
Members were looking forward to an improved shopping and leisure facility at the current Crumbles site, but developers PRUPIM recently announced it was abandoning its plans.
However, after being granted ‘district’ status, PRUPIM were able to attract a wider range of stores and L&G, the developer investing £70million in the Arndale Centre extension, became concerned it was ‘poaching’ fashion chains earmarked for the new Arndale.
Last week, the Herald revealed TK Maxx looked to be moving in to Sovereign Harbour rather than the Arndale.
L&G has launched a judicial review against the planning inspectorate, which made the decision to give PRUPIM ‘district’ status. As a result of the review Eastbourne Borough Council will also have to provide a defence.
Ian Weeks, a member of Sovereign Harbour Residents Association said, “It has turned in to them and us and that should never have happened. There is room for two shopping centres in the town.”
Mr Weeks said town centres were dying anyway and that was not the fault of PRUPIM.
He said, “I do not go in to the town centre unless I can help it and many feel the same .”
Rick Runalls, another harbour resident, said, “ One might take the view that this is just two developers slogging it out. However, there is much at stake and we are in danger of both projects failing to realise their potential.”
Mr Weeks said he felt L&G were frightened of competition.
Simon Russian, head of retail development at L& G Property, said, “The planning inspector is seeking to alter the retail hierarchy in Eastbourne by changing the planning status of Sovereign Harbour Retail Park to a district centre. This would be to the detriment of the town centre retail offer and therefore against national planning policy.”
Mr Russian said the judicial review sought to keep to the borough council’s Core Strategy.
A council spokesperson said, “The council is the strategic planning authority in this case and has duly submitted a defence. We will now await the outcome of the judicial review.”
PRUPIM believes Eastbourne will benefit from both a ‘vibrant’ town centre and Sovereign Harbour.