Cinema, flats and bars planned for Portishead

A public march in support of Old Mill Road businesses will be held on Saturday.

A public march in support of Old Mill Road businesses will be held on Saturday. - Credit: Archant

Leaked plans show restaurants, bars, shops, flats and a cinema are planned for Portishead to replace thriving businesses at Old Mill Road.

Standard Life Investments’ has arranged for all existing businesses’ leases to end in March 2019, forcing them to look for an alternative sites in Portishead.

Many feel that is unfeasible given the lack of options, and even if they could move elsewhere the cost of doing so would be prohibitive.

Portisbeds owner John Lochrie said: “It is a pension fund which is trying to make money.

“For Portishead this would be the death knell for industry.”

Standard Life’s draft plan shows room for six food and drink outlets, a cinema, eight retail units and about 350 flats, plus other commercial or community space.

MORE: We want to create new jobs in Portishead, says Standard Life Investments.

But Mr Lochrie said: “If it attracts a M&S or something, then shops will close in the High Street.”

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A march in support of Old Mill Road’s firms will set off from the Folk Hall at 1pm on Saturday.

A spokesman for the Save Old Mill Road campaign said: “Portishead has a history of industry and commerce.

“We want to stop Portishead being stripped of its commercial ventures and want to see the building of more homes cease.

“That is why we ask our community to stand together on this march.

“Businesses in Old Mill Road employ more than 250 skilled and semi-skilled workers.

“Please help us to protect their future, while keeping our town something we can all be proud of.”

MORE: Liam Fox MP says business not housing needed in Old Mill Road.

Standard Life is rumoured to close to submitting a planning application, but it promised to ‘consult’ the town before doing so.

The firm said: “We believe there is an opportunity to improve the contribution that Old Mill Road can make to the town and the town centre through attracting shops and leisure operators that are not currently in Portishead – thereby retaining trade and spend in the town as well as generating employment opportunities.”

If its plans are approved, Standard Life said it will ‘work with the council’ to help affected firms relocate.