Green light on expansion plans

By JONATHON HOWARD

CAPTION: (Warwick Centra) Part of the Warwick Central carpark earmarked for redevelopment. (inset) (Warwick Central2) Warwick Central is set for a multi-million dollar redevelopment which will include nine new stores and a toilet block.

WARWICK shoppers have responded with mixed feelings over plans to expand Warwick Central and construct nine new specialty stores adjacent to the Super IGA.
The development, which was approved by Southern Downs Regional Council last week, is located at 9 Albert St and will reclaim about 820 square metres of vacant land and parking spaces near the front access to the Super IGA and Celebrations bottle shop and drive through.
The development application was submitted by landowner Warwick Central Pty Ltd and is being overseen by Powercat Realty director Stephen Kay.
Mr Kay said he had already received considerable interest from potential traders eager to fill the allotted spaces.
“It’s too early to start announcing who will house these new stores, but we’ve already received considerable interest from traders,” he said.
Construction work was likely to begin towards the end of 2013 with completion scheduled in 2014.
The Free Times hit the street earlier this week to ask Warwick shoppers’ what they thought of the new shopping precinct announcement.
Warwick resident Marlene Golding said she loved the idea.
“I think the new shops will be great for Warwick – it could even mean more shops are open on Sundays,” Mrs Golding said.
Other locals, such as Ethel Bunch, agreed with Mrs Golding and said she thought it was a good idea.
However, several other locals said they feared the new development could impact parking and convenience – as well as questioning the number of recent closures of small businesses throughout Warwick.
Warwick currently has more than 15 vacant retail outlets throughout the CBD – many which were impacted by the global recession, persistent flooding and a lack of customers.
Warwick resident Mark Ireland said he was against the idea of new shops at Warwick Central.
“No, I don’t think it’s a good idea, there are already too many shops closing down or closed in Warwick,” Mr Ireland said.
“I also worry about the reduction in parking which is used by a lot of people in the community, including staff members and teachers – who are asked not to take up street parking spaces.”
The Warwick Central plans revealed that the specialty shops will be developed on existing car park and a spare block of land behind the existing loading dock which will be converted to extra parking.

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