‘Ghost town’ threat

Carlton Lanes Shopping Centre manager David Bailey says building a supermarket outside the town will kill off Castleford town centre.
Carlton Lanes Shopping Centre manager David Bailey says building a supermarket outside the town will kill off Castleford town centre.
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A SHOPPING centre manager has issued a stark warning that another out-of-town supermarket would “kill” Castleford’s town centre.

David Bailey, who has managed Carlton Lanes shopping centre since August 2009, said Castleford Tigers’ plan to develop a large format supermarket at its ground on Wheldon Road would harm trade in the town.

He said: “It has been proven time and time again that big out-of-town supermarkets are a severe threat to town centre traders.

“When Asda came to Glass Houghton the town centre footfall dropped by 15 per cent. I think we would become a ghost town.

“If a supermarket did open we would see shops close. It would create more jobs but we would taking people from shops in the centre and giving them jobs outside the town.

“An outside shopping destination isn’t helpful. I would like to see investment in redeveloping the town centre and not building on the outskirts.”

Mr Bailey manages 45 stores at Carlton Lanes and while business is booming inside the shopping centre, he says shops on the high street are suffering.

He said: “Castleford is on the decline already. It’s fantastic in Carlton Lanes but the high street is another story.

“The council is not actively letting that area, it’s a shame because there’s so many empty places and it will have a knock on effect on the shopping centre.”

Mr Bailey said he would like to see the local authority helping businesses in the town centre.

He said: “Councillors are talking about investment outside the town but there’s councils across Yorkshire offering loans to companies to set up. We don’t have that here.

“I do hope that councillors will think long and hard about the potential implications, especially at a time in the current economic market whereby many businesses small and large are on a knife edge.”

Coun Denise Jeffery, cabinet member for regeneration and economic growth, said the council was “fully committed” to supporting Castleford’s economy.

She said: “Castleford has had major public sector funding and backing from the council, which is still very much ongoing.

“This includes £11m as part of the Castleford Project, the development and continued support of the Town Centre Partnership and investment of more than £1 million in the creation of the Forum, a new library, museum and exhibition space.

“We are also currently working on a new delivery plan to identify how Castleford can attract investment to create local jobs.”

The council confirmed it had not yet received any planning applications for development at Wheldon Road.