Go-ahead for new out-of-town retail park to expand

The plans were announced by Huntingdonshire District Council.

The plans were announced by Huntingdonshire District Council. - Credit: Archant

A newly-built retail park at St Ives is heading for expansion.

The go-ahead for a further retail outlet on the site at Harrison Way has been given by planners at Huntingdonshire District Council.

Branches of McDonalds, Costa Coffee, Subway and Eric's Fish Bar are already in place at the Abbey Retail Park, which was first approved in May 2017.

Now the Abbey Group wants to build a two-storey building with the options of retail, food or professional services on the ground floor and business or a gym on the first floor.

Planners said that the overall impact of the existing outlets on trade in the town centre were positive, the additional building was considered to be acceptable on the site, and its impact on trade in the town centre was also described as acceptable.

There had been complaints that the building would overshadow neighbouring buildings and they would also be affected by car lights. Planners said neighbouring properties were over 90 metres away and there was a thick tree and hedge boundary which would reduce overshadowing, overlooking and car lights.

St Ives Civic Society said a bat survey was out of date and that the building would obstruct the bats' route between tree lines.

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"The two-storey building proposed will disrupt bats' flight routes and result in further loss of habitat, especially the rough grass areas frequented by the food species favoured by bats," the society said. "To alleviate the loss of habitat the society will be pleased if the remaining open area were planted to encourage insects favoured by bats."

Supermarket discounter Aldi has been given the go-ahead to amend the design of the front of its new shop on the nearby Compass Point Business Park.

The shop was approved by the district council in May but now Aldi wants to remove the building's protruding customer lobby and front canopy.

Planners said the changes were acceptable and would not alter the overall character of the building significantly.

Aldi said the changes, which were "very minor", had emerged during the detailed design stage and would not impact on the overall appearance of the building.