Condition varied to permit discount retailer on park

An inspector has agreed to vary the terms of a planning condition imposed on a retail park in Gloucestershire in order to allow occupation by a mixed goods discount retailer.

200-002-868 (Image Credit: WYG Planning)
200-002-868 (Image Credit: WYG Planning)

In opposing the scheme the council claimed that two sites within a city centre were available. The first related to a planned in-centre redevelopment which was predicted to be open and trading by the end of 2018. The second relied on a vacant M&S store which the council argued could meet the requirements of the intended retailer albeit with some compromise in respect of servicing and parking.

The city centre scheme was unlikely to deliver retail units within the next five years, the inspector determined, since even if an outline application was submitted in early 2015, reserved matters would then have to be secured and as yet there were no pre-lets to possible retailers. A number of freehold and leasehold interests had yet to be acquired and the proposed discount retailer would require the equivalent of six shops which would limit the number of high quality fashion retailers. Moreover, a low rental tenant occupying around one quarter of the retail space in the scheme would not be attractive to the developer or to potentially higher quality tenants.

In relation to the former M&S department store, there was no adjacent car park and it was very much larger than required. It did not meet the intended business model, with poor servicing and split over two floors. It was not viable and did not offer a sequentially preferable alternative, the inspector held.

Inspector: John Gray; Inquiry

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