My overriding concern has always been the lack of progress coming from the new owners of TJ Hughes, Dove Properties since they took ownership of the site, almost 3 years ago. This is an important High Street location in our town and even though it is a private development, I have been in close discussions about it.
I contacted Dove Properties again about these latest reports of flats and they have assured me they understand current concerns. No formal planning application has been made to change the use of the site and even though the old building always had flats on the upper floors, it very firmly remains zoned for retail use predominantly. I would certainly not support a purely residential scheme on this important site. Whatever the exact mix of usage for the building, I feel it’s essential that all such developments are progressed as part of wider town centre enhancements, ensuring adequate and improved facilities including health care, parking and increased support for current residents.