Brantano a shoe-in for new Phoenix Retail Park
SHOE shop Brantano wants to move into part of the only empty unit on a new retail park.
The Leicestershire-based chain has been revealed as the only retailer interested in taking over the final unit at £8 million Phoenix Retail Park, in Longton.
Names such as McDonald's and Pets At Home have already moved on to the former Phoenix Timber Yard, and Currys PC World and Smyths Toys are due to open shortly.
Brantano wants to take over part of the last shop.
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Now developer St Modwen has asked for permission for the footwear firm to move on to the site and sub-divide the unit.
If the plans are passed by Stoke-on-Trent City Council, Brantano will occupy 6,000 square feet.
A report submitted with the planning applications reads: "Unit four is the last remaining vacant unit on the new Phoenix Retail Park development.
"The retail park developer, St Modwen, have been marketing the unit for some time, however the only interested occupier for the last unit is Brantano footwear."
Brantano has looked at other units in the town but found they were either not big enough or not suitable locations.
They included the Longton Exchange, the former Woolworths site in Market Street, the former Tams factory in Sutherland Road, and Phoenix Works in King Street.
The report adds that other shops in the town centre will not be affected by Brantano coming to Longton.
It states: "There are a number of examples of Brantano trading from retail parks either within, or in proximity to, small town centres, as would be the case with Longton.
"In each case, the town centre is able to offer a range of shoe shops which complements the offer provided by Brantano, demonstrating that no adverse impact on the vitality and viability arises to the town centre as a result of the commencement of trading of a Brantano store." Brantano has approximately 140 stores in the UK, including ones in Festival Park, Crewe, Stafford and Uttoxeter.
The new store is expected to have a turnover of £780,000.
A condition attached to planning permission for the retail park restricts what the units can be used for.
Fresh plans have been submitted to allow footwear to be sold from the site. They have been welcomed by traders.
Richard Cresswell, chairman of Longton Chamber of Trade and owner of RD Cresswell and Co, said: "There are quite a few people who are against the Phoenix development but I was all for it.
"The site was derelict for years and has been an eyesore for everyone who travels along the A50.
"I'm all for further development and think it will be good to get another national brand there."
Dave Hall, aged 35, who runs The Partner's Barber Shop, in The Strand, said: "Brantano will hopefully bring people into Longton. It is just a pity they have selected to go there when there are so many empty units in the town itself."
Consultation on the plans ends on May 30. A decision is expected to be made by June 25.