Old gas works in Clacton lined up for retail development

Aerial shot of Clacton from 2009 showing the former gas holders. Picture: Mike Page.

Aerial shot of Clacton from 2009 showing the former gas holders. Picture: Mike Page.

A Clacton car park could be turned into a utilities site to make way for a retail development on the town’s former gas works.

Gas company National Grid has been looking to develop the land off Old Road since taking down the gas holders at the beginning of last year.

However the firm can now reveal it has received five bids from companies interested in developing the site for a retail.

To maximise the size of the new shopping development National Grid is now looking to buy the adjoining car park owned and run by Tendring District Council (TDC).

The site would not be kept as a car park, but would instead house the remaining gas utilities which need to be kept on the site.

This would then free up the entirety of the former gas works land for redevelopment.

Stewart Kellie, joint venture manager at National Grid, said: “Since dismantling the two gasholders in Clacton in early 2014 we have been reviewing options to regenerate the site.

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“Although much of the site is unused, a small area has the essential role of delivering gas to Clacton.

“We are in discussions with Tendring District Council to purchase the Old Street car park which could, in future, house the necessary gas distribution equipment.

“This would free up the entire gas works site for retail redevelopment.

“Early discussions are taking place with potential developers and we will be sure to update the Clacton community as soon as we can about this exciting new development.”

Officers at TDC have recommended the buy-out of the car park is approved by senior councillors at a cabinet meeting tomorrow.

A report into the proposed deal says the 43 space car park is under-used with shoppers and other town centre visitors preferring to use other sites, while income has also declined as the majority of motorists have free parking permits issued by the authority to district tax payers.

The car park is often less than half full, and the report says there is more than enough alternative parking provision in the nearby area to allow for suitable alternative parking spaces for drivers.

The proposed sale price has not been made public as it is deemed commercially sensitive.

However the income from the sale would be equivalent to between 25 and 30 years’ of revenue generated from parking tickets for the council.

The development would help regenerate part of Clacton town centre and create jobs in construction and staffing the centre, the report says.