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 However, the scheme failed to catch on and was withdrawn after a couple of years.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.

News
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
News
Former Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin, left, with her daughter, Bristol
newsShe's 'proud' of eldest daughter, who 'punched host in the face'
Sport
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
football
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
i100
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
Sport
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
rugby
Voices
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Arts and Entertainment
Salmond told a Scottish television chat show in 2001that he would also sit in front of a mirror and say things like,
tvCelebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
food + drink
News
Rob Merrick's Lobby Journalists were playing Ed Balls' Labour Party MPs. The match is an annual event which takes place ahead of the opening of the party conference
newsRob Merrick insistes 'Ed will be hurting much more than me'
News
A cabin crew member photographed the devastation after one flight
news
Life and Style
Carol O'Brien, whose son Rob suffered many years of depression
healthOne mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
Life and Style
The Google Doodle celebrating the start of the first day of autumn, 2014.
tech
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

Trainee / Experienced Recruitment Consultants

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 ...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Soho

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40000: SThree: As a Recruitment Consultant, y...

Trainee Recruitment Consultants - Banking & Finance

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...

Quantitative Risk Manager

Up to £80000: Saxton Leigh: My client, a large commodities broker, is looking ...

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits