COUNCILLORS will be asked to lift a restriction on out of town shopping to allow a £7m redevelopment of the Croft Retail Park in Bromborough.
The park’s owners, USS, are remodelling the park’s leisure area in a project which would create 145 jobs and see the opening of new Nando’s and Harvester restaurants.
The existing Odeon cinema entrance and frontage will also be modernised, with a new Puffin crossing created by McDonalds and improvements to pedestrian walkways.
But USS says the plans hinge on whether homeware store Dunelm Mill – which would take the scheme’s biggest unit – is allowed to open.
Members of Wirral Council’s planning committee will next week be asked to remove a restriction on out of town retail which says the unit cannot be used for the sale of soft furnishings.
USS’s fund manager Fergus Egan said: “Subject to planning permission for the current application being granted, we would expect to start construction over the summer and the 145 new permanent jobs at the Croft to be in place later this year and early next.
“A new Puffin crossing in the park by McDonald’s would be in place this autumn – we are committed to installing this crossing early in the programme.
“New pedestrian walkways, suitable for disabled people and parents with buggies, through the retail and leisure car parks would be installed shortly afterwards.
“We would expect the new cinema frontage to be complete early in 2014.”
The leisure plans were originally granted planning permission last April.
But USS says that without Dunelm Mill able to move in as the scheme’s anchor tenant, the project would be put on hold.
Council planners have recommended the application for approval.
A report on the plans said the restriction on soft furnishings was imposed in a bid to “prevent impact to town centres” in line with national planning policy.
It said Dunelm Mill had also looked at sites in Birkenhead, Bromborough, Heswall, New Ferry and Prenton.
The report stated: “Dunelm Mill have indicated that they are unlikely to consider other nearby locations including existing vacant units within Birkenhead town centre due to their preferred location requirements.”
Bromborough Councillor Steve Niblock said: “After working with USS over a number of years to develop the shopping offer at the Croft Retail Park, I am delighted that they are moving forward with the pedestrian crossing between McDonalds and Asda. Many residents over the years have requested this.
“This will create local jobs for local people.”