Editor's pick: Wider clothes sales range allowed at garden centre

In allowing variation of a condition imposed on the sale of goods at a Somerset garden centre, an inspector has found justification for widening the range of clothes that can be offered.

The condition allowed the sale of "outdoor clothes" from up to 1,200 square metres of the retail area. A schedule detailed a range of items that could not be sold , including fashion clothing and shoes. The appellant sought permission to sell these items from a reduced area of 815 square metres. The inspector found that the condition's reference to outdoor clothing lacked precision, since on a literal interpretation it could mean any clothes that could be worn outside.

He noted that the clothes on offer included items from several well-known fashion retailers and saw no evidence that the council had taken enforcement action against this breach of the permission. In his view, allowing the variation would make no noticeable change in the garden centre's retail function, which ran to 12,000 square metres of undercover and 7,000 square metres of external retail space. He found no indication that travel patterns would alter or that sales had an adverse impact on existing centres.

Inspector: Gareth Symons; Written representations

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