A £30 MILLION retail development at Hayle could be good, not bad, for the town centre, local business leaders insist.
Some objectors to the plan by Cranford Developments – which would see Debenhams and other large retailers move into Marsh Lane – have said it will spell the end of the high street, but some Hayle businesspeople say it could have the opposite effect.
The president of Hayle Chamber of Commerce, Jeremy Joslin, said the development could help small businesses as it would attract new visitors to the town, and the chamber was focusing on the benefits schemes such as this could bring, including jobs for people in Hayle.
"We're being very positive about it," he said. "We've survived the M&S and we've survived the Lidl and we haven't lost anything. We're an example to all the rest of Cornwall, because our shops are full."
Mr Joslin said with Asda being built on South Quay, development at both ends of Hayle could draw people through the town centre. "We didn't really want the supermarket on South Quay, but instead of moaning we just said, 'Let's be positive about this; let's work with it. We need some way of getting people to go through the town. Everyone will want to come round the new Hayle'."
Rob Taft, owner of Meritorious Cards and Crafts, said he wasn't worried about the scale of the proposed development.
"People have always shopped outside of Hayle, going to Truro and Penzance," he said. "It'll bring people in who've never thought of coming to Hayle and hopefully they'll stay and discover what the place has."
Mr Taft said with Asda opening directly opposite his Penpol Terrace shop, he could see only the benefits the extra footfall would bring to other small businesses through the town.
Blushhh Lingerie's owner Bini Barnes said her trade had increased since the West Cornwall Shopping Park was developed: "Any development is good for the town.
"Anything that will bring more people to the town is good. Everyone needs a bit of healthy competition. I'm all for it."
However, Claire Wilkins, who owns ladies' fashion store Dune Boutique, said if Cranford Developments won approval the whole town would struggle. "There's only so much spending power in an area," she said. "People won't stop and shop in little shops with all that going on at either end of town. It'll pull the town apart. I think we'll see lots of shops boarded up."
Ms Wilkins, who has had the shop on Fore Street for ten years, said she was extremely worried that free parking at out-of-town retailers would stop customers coming to her store altogether, as parking was already a problem on the high street.