Asian bazaar contravenes planning policy

The partial use of an employment unit in west Yorkshire as an Asian bazaar was judged likely to have an adverse impact on the functioning of existing markets in a nearby town centre.

200-001-181 (Image Credit: Bradford MDC)
200-001-181 (Image Credit: Bradford MDC)

The building extended to 25,000m2, and approximately 4,500m2 had been used as an indoor market containing 236 stalls. The council had issued a stop notice, and an enforcement notice was subsequently issued which the appellant appealed. He claimed that the nature of the goods sold could be limited by condition to stipulate ‘Asian goods’ with no more than 10 per cent used for the selling of food and convenience items. Evidence was produced which sought to demonstrate that few traders or shoppers had been attracted away from existing markets.

The council presented evidence on the performance of two markets which it managed within a town centre. These contained a wide variety of stall holders, many of which served Asian goods which would be directly impacted by the development. It had also examined options on how to maintain and expand the role of the markets in planned redevelopments within the centre.

In deciding that the site lay in an out-of-centre location an inspector agreed that the council was adopting a pro-active approach in its support for town centre markets. The survey evidence submitted by the appellant was incomplete and lacked sufficient robustness for him to be able to conclude that the unauthorised bazaar had had little impact. Indeed it appeared that it had generated a turnover comparable to the two in-centre markets and could increase the number of vacant stalls thereby reducing their attractiveness to shoppers.

The impact on a local centre which also contained its own market had also been underestimated since the evidence suggested that it had suffered a marked decline while the appellant’s bazaar had traded. In his opinion supporting the role and function of existing centres through the operation of well organised and extensive in-centre markets was a key retail objective which should be supported.

With regard to the opportunities for locating the bazaar within existing centres, the inspector was sceptical as to the need to find a site or building capable of accommodating over 200 stalls. There was no financial information to support the appellant’s contention that splitting the stalls between two units would be unviable. A vacant building within the centre which had formerly been used as a traders’ market was available and although this could accommodate only 100 stalls the inspector decided that it was suitable given the need to apply flexibility in the business model.

Indeed, the appellant had acquired a property with two trading floors and a rooftop car park with a trading licence for a market. This undermined the claim that only a building with a single floor trading area was suitable. The availability of these alternative premises supported his decision to dismiss the appeal.

Inspector Nicholas Freeman; Inquiry

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