Maldon Blackwater Retail Park shops will open before Christmas, developers confirm.

The shops at Blackwater Retail Park are expected to open before Christmas, developers have revealed.Aquila Developments confirmed that the tenants of the stores set to take pride of place at the retail park will commence their fitting out works soon and are expected to open before Christmas.The news comes after the approval of planning permission for a 60-bedroom hotel on the site.

John Parling, from Aquila, said: “The construction works are scheduled to be completed this month.”The tenants will then commence their fitting out works and we expect that they will commence trading before Christmas.”The retail park, just off Fulbridge and Station Road near the Tesco Extra in Maldon, will see shops including Next, Aldi, Sports Direct, Home Bargains and Costa open their doors.

The eight-unit retail park will cover about 75,000 square feet and will have parking for about 295 cars.Joining the stores will be a 60-bed Travelodge hotel which was approved by Maldon Council last Wednesday (August 22).

Councillor Michael Pearlman, who represents Maldon North and was part of the planning committee who approved the plans, said: “I think the hotel is needed in the district, it is going to be a good way or promoting tourism in the town, we have some guest houses but we do not have a major hotel available.”With the planning, there were a few councillors that weren’t happy with the design within the rest of the area but the Lidl and the new Aldi are not particularly in keeping with the town.

“It could have been more in keeping with the town, it is in an industrial area next to houses so I can see the point from the design people.”We have got to move forward to the right century. I would like to see a link between there and the high street like a park and ride scheme so people can go there and stay at the hotel, have a Costa Coffee and go into the High Street.”It is quite a steep hill and you can’t expect people to walk there.”

The plans were recommended to be approved, with support from Maldon Town Council, the Environment Agency and Essex Highways.The council’s report reads: “The proposal is acceptable in principle, would not cause harm to the character or appearance of the area and would not result in material harm to the occupiers of existing and neighbouring residents (subject to the imposition of conditions).

“The proposal would also not raise concerns in relation to access, parking and highway safety and would be acceptable from a flood risk perspective.

“Drainage details have already been approved as part of the previous hybrid application. Contamination can be adequately dealt with through the imposition of conditions.”

Maldon Town Councillor, Stephen Nunn claimed he was “concerned” about traffic and parking but largely backed the new hotel.”I think it is good for the area, more and more people want to come to Maldon so this has got to be good for tourism, a lot of people are staying at the local B&B’s,” he said.

“My only concern is the infrastructure in terms of traffic and car parking but it is a good thing for business. I think it has got to be a positive thing as long as the infrastructure is right.Aquila Developments submitted plans for a hotel building with a café at ground floor level in March this year.It will see the hotel building 14.6m by 40.3m in footprint, four storeys in height and a maximum of 12.7m above finished floor level.Meanwhile, the proposed cafe will be 171 square metres and form part of the ground floor of the new building.

It is thought the developer will also employ local people, with the hotel employing ten full-time equivalent staff and the cafe employing eight full-time equivalent staff.Construction at Blackwater Retail Park is due to be completed this month.

Thanks to Essex Live for their Post:

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