PLANS for a big £150 million Worcester shopping park led by John Lewis have run into bitter opposition - with residents across the city writing fierce objections.

Householders in Worcester, Warndon Parish Council, a body representing city centre shops and even The Open Space Society have come forward to denounce the bid for a huge out-of-town retail centre off Newtown Road.

Your Worcester News can today reveal how since a planning application went public, nearly 20 residents have taken it upon themselves to write the city council letters saying they fear for the High Street's future.

A brief three-week consultation over the retail plaza, bankrolled by the UK's biggest developer Land Securities, closed on Wednesday with 21 written objections - most from city householders.

Resident Roger Crompton, of Fry Close, Warndon, cited the impact of Merry Hill on Dudley, the Bluewater on Kent and Meadowhall on Sheffield, saying out-of-town shopping parks damage towns and cities.

He said: "I am a fan of John Lewis, but I am an ever bigger fan of Worcester city centre and I hope this plan will be rejected in support of our traditional shopping area."

Janet Cottrell, of Bromwich Road in St John's, said she feared a "catastrophic impact" upon the city centre.

"The opening of Asda has already shifted the footfall with disastrous effects," she said, telling planners she "fears" for the High Street.

Dave Long, chairman of Warndon Parish Council, has written a two-page objection of what he calls "deep concerns", saying it will damage the city, create noise pollution and cause "unacceptable traffic congestion".

We can also reveal how Worcester's Business Improvement District (BID), which represents city centre businesses, has taken advice from the likes of the CrownGate shopping centre and now formally objected, saying the BID board of directors "expresses concerns" on the potential impact.

The negative feedback led to Land Securities defending the scheme yesterday, insisting it will attract new people to Worcester rather than compete with existing shoppers.

Portfolio director Nick Duffield said: "The proposals will complement rather than compete with Worcester city centre.

"Approximately £113m is lost each year to competing centres such as Birmingham and Cheltenham and the provision of a new, high quality destination will help reduce the need for people to travel out of Worcester.

"The proposed development will compete primarily with other retail parks – rather than the city centre.

"There will be no material impact on the turnover of the city centre, which will continue to grow alongside the proposed development."

The planning application is due to be decided by April by the council and features 13 units and 1,044 parking spaces.

Next, John Lewis, Marks & Spencer and Sainsbury's have all signed up so far, with the park set to be situated on green fields known as Worcester Woods.

As we revealed last month, the city council is doing its own independent assessment on the potential impact on the High Street, which the developer will be billed for.