Retail parks stage their final drama

THE curtain goes up this week on one of the last acts in Britain's long-running, out-of-town shopping saga. The doors are opening at a pounds 200m complex on the fringe of deepest Cheshire - one of the biggest in recent years.

The ambitious edge-of-town development, which will create almost 2,000 new jobs, is likely to be one of the last of its kind. Planning permission for greenfield sites is increasingly difficult to win for environmental reasons, while the Government's road- building programme is, in effect, on ice.

Supermarket chains Marks and Spencer and Tesco, and home furnisher Allders have spent a total of pounds 75m on a shared site at Handforth, near affluent Wilmslow.

In a similar project just over a mile away in prosperous Cheadle, J Sainsbury has teamed up with the privately owned John Lewis, owner of the Waitrose food halls, in an estimated pounds 45m joint venture.

All the stores are situated next to the new A34 Handforth by-pass, which is also scheduled to open on Wednesday. The retailers contributed pounds 36m to the pounds 87m cost of building the road.

The level of co-operation does not end there. "We are complementary," says a spokeswoman for Sainsbury. "John Lewis is not selling food and we are not selling clothes." While Sainsbury will also sell petrol around the clock, the adjoining John Lewis department store is offering customers half a million lines to choose from - the widest range of goods and services of any shop outside London.

Although the bypass development is not in itself unique - M&S has five similar joint ventures in the south - the retailers have here tapped into a catchment area that is unashamedly upmarket. Dubbed the Knightsbridge of the north, Wilmslow even had the audacity to launch its own local credit card in the early 1980s - the first of its kind in the country. However, the scheme failed to catch on and was withdrawn after a couple of years.

But even Wilmslow's rude wealth looks rather wan when compared with the nearby village of Prestbury, which boasts more millionaires per square mile than any other place in Britain. Residents include Eric Cantona, Alex Higgins, Mike Yarwood and, no doubt, some of the latest lottery winners.

Retailers serving these leafy suburbs welcome the superstores' arrival because of the extra business they should bring to the area. "We are working with the new edge-of-town stores in order to create complementary speciality shopping," says Sue Bevan of the Wilmslow Business Group.

The development's effect on town-centre stores is likely to be less beneficial, especially after the recent law lords decision to overturn a court of appeal decision and give the go-ahead to a pounds 200m shopping complex on a 300-acre greenfield site at Dumplington, just off the M63 west of Manchester.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant- NY- Investment Bank

Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...

Selby Jennings: Quantitative Research | Equity | New York

Not specified: Selby Jennings: Quantitative Research | Global Equity | New Yor...

Selby Jennings: SVP Model Validation

Not specified: Selby Jennings: SVP Model Validation This top tiered investment...

Selby Jennings: Oil Operations

Highly Competitive: Selby Jennings: Our client, a leading European Oil trading...

Day In a Page

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?