Get involved: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting 'OXFORD NEWS' to 80360 or email
Carterton needs proper development strategy
10:00am Wednesday 3rd October 2012 in Letters
Sir – I see the decision on the large Morrisons store in Carterton has been deferred (Witney Gazette, September 26).
I believe a smaller supermarket near the RAF base would be more appropriate.
The infrastructure is in place and there’s plenty of parking, plus existing empty units that could be occupied by other typical ‘out of town’ retailers.
It’s a shame – if the Sainsbury’s application for the West Oxfordshire Business Park had been approved, the store would be built by now. It was rejected partly due to concerns over reduced trade in the town centre.
I have heard Abingdon used as an example of a town centre affected by a large supermarket (Tesco) on the periphery. In truth, any new supermarket is bound to affect trade in existing shops, like bakers, butchers and grocers initially.
However, it might have been worse if Tesco had built their store in Abingdon town centre.
At least on the outskirts a supermarket attracts more passing trade and has less need to compete aggressively with town centre shops. Also, those who live near and prefer to walk will stick to the town centre.
Most supermarkets are located away from town centres with good reason. A new Morrisons store in Carterton may be unsustainable and possibly lead to the closure of the Co-op or Aldi.
The expected growth from the relocation of military personnel from RAF Lyneham hasn’t materialised. A town centre with three supermarkets, takeaways and little else isn’t attractive to shoppers and won’t stimulate population growth.
It’s late in the day, but if the Sainsbury’s application or something similar was resurrected, it would leave land in the town centre for creative development, like mixed retail and housing, modelled on Marriots Walk in Witney.
As the district’s second largest town, Carterton deserves focus and needs help from the district council to devise a strategy.
Then, a clear vision can be promoted to prospective retailers, with some certainty of a positive outcome.
Justine Garbutt, Alvescot Road, Alvescot