Plans to expand Cribbs Causeway could threaten local businesses

Credit: ITV West Country

There are fears that plans to dramatically increase the size of the region's biggest shopping mall could seriously threaten businesses in town and city centres.

A final decision on proposals for the massive expansion of Cribbs Causeway in South Gloucestershire was due to be made by the Government today but has been delayed until autumn.

Civic leaders are concerned that such a huge development could pose another threat to struggling local shopping areas.

There is concern that development at Cribbs Causeway could threaten many local shopping areas. Credit: ITV West Country

The Mall shopping centre opened 20 years ago and now welcomes around 12 million visitors every year.

Cribbs faces competition from other centres such as Cabot Circus in Bristol's Broadmead area.

£370 million of investment in Broadmead has been given outline planning permission but that is yet to be guaranteed.

Any expansion to Cribbs could also affect areas further afield.

Weston-super-Mare has had £150m worth of investment in recent years but some estimates say the town would lose close to £40 million or 10% of its trade if Cribbs grows.

Cribbs' shopping centre opened 20 years ago. Credit: ITV West Country

The government originally rejected the idea of Cribbs Causeway in 1988 before the project was eventually approved.

The shopping centre took two and a half years to build and cost around £200m.

If the expansion does take place, it is expected to cost around £300 million and create almost 4,000 new jobs.