Barnstaple Town Council recommend approval for potential TK Maxx store
Barnstaple Town Council planning committee has recommend approval for a the building of retail unit which could potentially house a TK Maxx store.
The planning committee deliberated over the plans, submitted by agent GVA Grimley Ltd, for the site at 22 and 23 Joy Street in Barnstaple Town Centre at a meeting last night.
The plans reveal a proposal to build a retail unit covering both sites, which are currently derelict, with an entrance in Green Lanes Shopping Centre.
In June speculation of a TK Maxx opening in the town was rife after British Land, owners of Green Lanes Shopping Centre, sent a letter to business owners in Joy Street about the plans for the site, complete with TK Maxx branding and artwork.
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However, British Land has since said the use of the artwork – which showed an artist's impression of how the cut-price designer store might look in Joy Street – was for "planning purposes only".
A spokesman for British Land said: "The artwork we used on the letters was for planning purposes only and is indicative of what it might look like with a retailer's branding.
"We're talking to a number of retailers about the unit but until contracts have been signed we can't confirm what retailer will take the place.
"We'd love to have a retailer like TK Maxx take the space but we can't confirm anything at the moment due to confidentiality agreements."
But Barnstaple Town Centre Manager Craig Bulley said the proposals involving TK Maxx were great news for Barnstaple.
He said: "Obviously we're really pleased. Essentially it could fill five empty units in the town centre which is great news.
"It's a strong national brand which complements our already strong selection of independent shops and it's good to have the balance."
Several of the town councillors at the meeting agreed with Mr Bulley.
Councillor Bruce Vernon said: "This will increase footfall in the town and I think it is an excellent application. I think it is an enhancement of the area."
Councillor Rod Hawes added: "This is probably one of the retail units in the town of this size and I think that will be quite an effective unit."
Councillor Ricky Knight challenged the planning officers at the meeting as to why there was confusion if TX Maxx would occupy the unit or not.
But the reply was no comment.
The committee proposed the scheme for approval unanimously, as consultees, with the amendment that the developers would consider putting an operating door onto Joy Street rather than just a fire exit.
The planning committee at North Devon Council will now have the responsibility of approving the scheme or not over the coming months.