The assessments produced widely differing conclusions, partly because they covered differing catchment areas. One assessment covering a wider catchment area predicted a spending capacity of £102 million in 2013. The appellant estimated a capacity of £59 million.
The council's estimate was £48 million, which it claimed meant there would be no surplus spending capacity once permitted retail schemes were taken into account. The appellant said the council's model made no allowance for retaining more spending in its catchment area, from which 50 per cent was currently lost to competing stores.
The reporter agreed that some allowance should be made for reducing the outflow of trade, although it was unrealistic to assume that it could be stopped altogether. However, he concluded that there was not enough spending power in the area to support the store's anticipated turnover of between £26 million and £32 million when other permitted developments were factored in.
The scheme would also have a significant impact on a nearby town centre that relied on convenience goods trade for its vitality, he ruled. A proposed redevelopment in the centre might also be threatened, he noted.
Reporter: David Buylla; Inquiry