Second march planned in Portishead to show anger at leisure and flats scheme
PUBLISHED: 06:25 01 November 2017
Second march against Old Mill Road redevelopment planned
A second march in three months will be held to show support for Old Mill Road businesses whose future has come under threat.
Standard Life Investments, on behalf of site owners Phoenix Life Ltd, wants to redevelop part of Portishead and build hundreds of apartments, a cinema, gym, shops, bars and restaurants.
However, to make that possible, industrial units – which house a variety of independent businesses – would be torn down.
A march against the idea was held in September and hundreds supported it. A second is planned for Saturday, beginning at the Folk Hall at 11am.
Ryan Peake, who owns several businesses in Old Mill Road including Ryans Garage, called for the town to turn out in force.
He said: “Standard Life is insisting on calling in the leases to clear us out of Old Mill Road so it can build 350-plus homes.
“Its empty promise proposes a cinema. No-one will invest in running a cinema when Cribbs Causeway is 12 minutes away.
“As for a new leisure centre, we already have a gym in Old Mill Road.
“If there are new cafés, bars and restaurants then some of the existing ones will close. Evidence of this is that there are six charity shops in the High Street taking up empty shops.
“In the end, the Standard Life proposed retail shops will be empty and after two years it will (probably) request to convert these promised ‘new brands’ in Portishead into yet more homes.
“How much more can we take with other planning requests in the pipeline for even more houses in Portishead. Traffic is bad enough now, just think of the increased traffic chaos.
“Standard Life is quite happy its proposal will take over 350 skilled, well-paid jobs from Portishead. It does not care.”
The march coincides with consultation events being run by Standard Life to showcase the plans illustrated in the Times last week. They will run from noon to 5pm tomorrow (Thursday) at Somerset Hall and on Saturday at the library from 11am-4pm.
Standard Life says it is working with North Somerset Council
to relocate affected companies and claims it has been told big name firms want to open in Portishead.