New supermarket ‘mixed blessing’ for the local shops

A MAJOR new supermarket in Hampden Park could spell trouble for traders, according to a local shopkeeper.

Developers plan to build a Morrisons supermarket and petrol station on a large industrial site in Arkwright Road, bringing 300 jobs to Eastbourne.

But Samantha Chapman, of Paperlane in Brassey Parade, who is setting up a traders’ association for the shopping parade, said that although the jobs are welcome, it could hit independent traders in Hampden Park village.

“It’s a double-edged sword. I think it’s great there’s a big company willing to invest in the area and the jobs they bring with it, but on the other hand Hampden Park has a lot of empty units at the moment and as a trader we want to see people in here.

“I came here 15 years ago and there was a butcher’s shop and a baker’s and we’ve lost all of them.

“I do feel it’s a knock-on from supermarkets because everyone uses supermarkets these days.

“It should not be at the detriment of losing the village,” she said.

Chair of the Hampden Park Neighbourhood Panel Sandy Boyce-Sharpe said the supermarket’s planned move might see more people using the shopping parade and the jobs would be a welcome boost for the area.

“Naturally we would welcome anything that comes to our area which would increase employment.

“When Tesco took over the site in the village they provided employment for the people there. It’s one of the more deprived areas of Eastbourne so any employment has to be applauded,” she said.

Planning documents say the council is negotiating employment guarantees for Hampden Park residents.

But it is unclear if this would be legally binding and town planners, who helped prepare the application, said they would decide on the finer points of the agreement further down the line.

Developer Morgan Davis Wherry wants to level the disused Anglo Dutch Meats (ADM) site, the busy Eastbourne Car Auction (ECA) and four other small business and replace them with a multi-million pound supermarket and four-pump filling station.

Eastbourne Borough Council is yet to consider the planning application.

Eastbourne’s Chamber of Commerce and Stephen Lloyd MP backed the proposal in Wednesday’s Gazette, saying it showed retailers’ confidence in Eastbourne’s economy.

Residents will be able to see drawings of the plans on March 25 between noon and 4pm at the Kings Centre in Edison Road and on March 26 in Highfield Junior School, The Hydneye between noon and 5.30pm.