The redevelopment of a prominent Wiltshire shopping centre has sparked fears “serious” traffic and parking problems will be caused.

The owners of Emery Gate Shopping Centre in Chippenham, Acorn Property Group, revealed their early plans for the regeneration of the site earlier this month.

The final design and details of this scheme are yet to be confirmed, but Acorn has announced it will include the creation of town centre homes and a “transformation” of the commercial space.

But Chippenham town councillor David Poole has warned the addition of a significant number of homes would worsen existing issues with traffic and parking in the town centre.

He said: “There does seem to be a lot of residential units being proposed and I am cautious about this because it feels a bit like a Trojan horse to build a lot of new homes.

“What worries me is the traffic and parking problem in town, there is already an issue with traffic flow because of the traffic lights installed by Wiltshire Council in recent years.

“It will deter people from coming in and spending money at the retail units if they have to sit in traffic.”

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Early plans for the Emery Gate developmentEarly plans for the Emery Gate development (Image: Acorn Property Group)

Despite concerns over the potential designs, both shoppers and councillors have supported the principle of regenerating the shopping centre, which will lose its biggest occupant in Tesco this year.

Cllr Poole added: “I’m not against regenerating the site at all, we’ve got to move with the times and it could be marvellous if it incorporates the river.

“But the emphasis needs to be on the retail side rather than that being a secondary concern.”

Acorn emphasised that designs for the rejuvenation of the shopping centre are still in the early stages of being drawn up.

But the property group insists they will work with Wiltshire Council and consultants to mitigate any potential impact on traffic and parking in the area.

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Early plans for the Emery Gate redevelopmentEarly plans for the Emery Gate redevelopment (Image: Acorn Property Group)

A spokesperson said: “Whilst we’re still in the early stages of formulating our proposals, we completely understand any concern regarding the future impact on traffic and parking as a result of the redevelopment of Emery Gate.

“As well as hiring a specialist transport consultancy, we’re working closely with Wiltshire Council’s sustainable transport team to ensure that all issues are taken into account as we build our plans.

“This will involve further discussion with stakeholders over the rest of the year.

“This is a crucial part of the proposed redevelopment of the shopping centre and we are committed to getting it right.”