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Highway access talks push back opening of new Co-op at Westcliffe Buildings in Barton to next year



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THE opening of a major supermarket chain’s new branch in a landmark Barton building has been delayed by hold-ups over settling highways access.

The Co-op store had been due to open its doors in 2021 to shoppers at Westcliffe Buildings, at Sea Road’s junction with Seaward Avenue, but the company has now announced this is set to happen in the new year.

New Milton mayor Cllr Keith Craze told a recent town council planning committee meeting there had been no construction activity on-site since May.

Construction work started in summer last year
Construction work started in summer last year

This was due to a legal delay regarding provision of retractable bollards and a dropped kerb for the delivery bay, he said.

Cllr Craze added he had asked Hampshire county councillor Mel Kendal to help expedite the situation.

A spokesperson for Co-op told the A&T it does not currently own or have access to the site, and the works and development were being carried out by the property owner.

“The site owner and developer carrying out the works are involved in ongoing discussions with the local council and highways department, and it is Co-op’s understanding that this has resulted in delays,” they explained.

“Co-op is set to lease the store once completed. The new store is expected to open in the new year.

“Co-op is not in a position to confirm, at this time, an opening date for the new store, however, the team is really looking forward to the opportunity to serve the local community.”

As reported in the A&T, construction of the branch finally started in summer 2020 – two-and-a-half years after it was given the go-ahead by New Forest District Council, with the promised creation of 15 new jobs.

Dating back to the 1930s, Westcliffe Buildings has been devoid of businesses since the post office moved out in 2016, later relocating to Barton Mews in Cliff Terrace. Along with the post office, it had hosted a grocers/off-licence and a hair salon.

Three units have been merged to house the Co-op as the chain returns to the area about six years after its branch in Station Road, New Milton, shut down.



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