Caterham: Church Walk developer wants big high street names in new units

Caterham: Church Walk developer wants big high street names in new units

A planning application is expected to be submitted next month

A huge redevelopment plan which could bring a three-screen cinema and big-brand shops and restaurants to Caterham is due to be presented in its final form next month.

The owner of Church Walk Shopping Centre wants to demolish it, and other shops which they don’t own along Station Avenue, and replace them with a new shopping centre, town square, cinema, extended car park, and 183 flats.

A planning application is due to be submitted to Tandridge District Council in December.

Owner Ropemaker Properties, wants restaurants such as Bill’s, Nando’s or Cafe Rouge to take a spot around the new square next to Morrisons, and hopes retailers such as Fat Face, Joules or Hotel Chocolat move in to some of the 23 new, bigger shops.

The scheme forms the core of the Caterham Masterplan, adopted by the council earlier this year.

Michael Cooper, district councillor for Harestone, said: “Caterham has stuttered a bit in terms of development, therefore we do need some serious development in the town to really bring in new opportunities. To revitalise the town was the aim of the game.”

He said replacing the current “bungalow” shops with larger retail units would attract bigger brand names to the town.

“My concern is the number of flats is too many, but I am told quite clearly by them [Ropemaker] that to make the thing viable financially, they have to have that many,” Cllr Cooper added.

“We have chipped away at it a bit. We are going to have to see what they come up with in terms of a planning application.”

He said reaction to the proposals, which is currently open to public comments, had been mixed but enthusiasm for a cinema was unanimous.

He said: “It will be a huge change for Caterham, there is no doubt about that.”

Not everyone is likely to be happy with the plan. Ropemaker will need to take possession of the shops either side of the shopping centre entrance on Station Avenue, and that could hinge on the outcome of compulsory purchase order [CPO] applications.

Of the 183 flats currently proposed, 101 would be one-bedroom, 71 two-bedroom, two with three bedrooms and nine studio flats.

The car park off Harestone Valley Road would be reconfigured, and have an extra level added, to create 118 additional parking spaces. There would also be 92 parking spaces for the flats – a ratio of one for every two.

In its projected timeline for the project, Ropemaker anticipates that, if the scheme is granted planning approval next spring, applications for CPOs for the Station Avenue buildings may be required next autumn. That may need to be resolved by the lands tribunal in spring 2020, and construction could start that autumn.

The developer has been approached for comment. Go to www.churchwalkvision.co.uk to submit your views.

Source: Surrey Live

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