THE FINAL phase of major development at a Stafford “gem” has been approved.
New shops, an outdoor pursuits store and a winery will be built at Trentham.
The application deals with matters reserved when the original application for the tourist attraction was approved in 2001.
Applicant St Modwen’s asked the council for five years to implement the new plans but the committee backed the officers’ recommendation to stipulate three years.
Planning manager Jon Holmes said if the development came before the committee today it probably wouldn’t be approved because it was contrary to current government thinking.
Mike Herbert, regional director with St Modwen’s, said: “We have invested tens of millions of pounds in Trentham.
"We believe we have addressed any concerns raised during the consultation period.”
Ward Councillor Brian Price said: “The problem with Trentham is it’s got one entrance and one exit and at big events it’s been known for traffic to queue on the north-bound carriageway and take nearly half an hour to get through and on the south bound approaches to be as far as the A500.
“We need to look at something to do with the roundabout. We must try to keep a fairly consistent flow on the A34 north and south.”
Councillor Ann Edgeller said: “This is a gem in Stafford borough, it’s such fantastic development.”
Councillor Geoff Collier said: “I was opposed to the retail park when they first proposed it and I’m still against it.
“It’s robbed a lot of trade from the high streets and now it’s getting even bigger it’s going to rob even more from them.”
Councillor Tony Holmes said: “I’m all for it. I don’t think it robs the high street because it’s mainly a tourist attraction. People come from miles away in coaches.”
The committee voted unanimously to approve the plans.