THE Mayor of Trowbridge, Cllr David Cavill, has today welcomed plans to build 300 new homes and create scores of new jobs close to the town centre.

Residents will get the chance to see the plans when London-based property developers Innox Mills Ltd host a public exhibition from 3pm to 7.30pm on Tuesday at Trowbridge Civic Centre showcasing their draft proposals for the former Bowyers site.

Cllr Cavill said: “It’s going to have a significant impact on Trowbridge. It’s very impressive and very positive.

“It’s a big project and we are very pleased that it’s finally going ahead. They are going to build it in stages over a five-year period, starting with the land closest to the railway station.

“Their vision is to create something exciting with this space. People have something to hope for now. It has been an eyesore and empty site for more than 10 years.”

Some councillors and residents are likely to be disappointed to see the loss of major retail and leisure facilities promised in previous schemes, such as another large supermarket and a bowling alley complex, that would have created more jobs.

Cllr Edward Kirk said: “Personally, I would have liked to see more retail and leisure facilities, but there is an argument they would harm the financial viability of those at St Stephen’s Place.”

He hopes the scheme will help to improve the current situation in Stallard Street and Bythesea Road which get congested with through traffic going to the A361 and the A350.

Cllr Andrew Bryant said that, following Morrisons decision to pull out of a previous scheme about five years ago, he had wanted to see another large supermarket to challenge Tesco.

“Morrisons pulled out some years ago because they experienced a economic downturn and they closed some stores and stopped the development of others.

“I know the public would love to see a second cinema as well as a bowling alley but they are not financially viable.”

He added: “I would like to see the town’s retail and leisure offer expanding but we may be expecting too much in the current economic climate.”

Jonathan Dean from Innox Mills said: “Over the last three years we’ve been exploring opportunities, listening to local feedback, talking to potential users, carrying out site investigation works and responding to the changing retail situation.

“Our vision is to create a vibrant new residential-led mixed-use quarter with around 300 new homes, a mix of food, leisure and employment; a convenience store, gym and potentially street markets and pop up stalls; places for families and friends to meet and enjoy, workspace, quality public realm and improved links connecting Trowbridge.

“We are now keen to share the developing plans and listen to feedback and people’s thoughts.

“There is still a lot to do but we hope to be in a position to submit a planning application later this year/early next and subject to planning, hope to be able to start work in 2021.”

It is understood that the housing element will be built in seven phases, with sales from one paying for the next phase of development.

Representatives from the project team will be on hand at the exhibition to answer questions and obtain feedback.

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