Editor's pick: Retail pod held compliant with sequential test

Sainsbury's has secured permission to site a retail pod next to a store on the edge of an Essex town centre despite submission of what an inspector referred to as a somewhat rudimentary sequential assessment.

The pod was intended to house a Timpson’s dry cleaning, shoe repair and key cutting business. Timpson’s already had an outlet in the town centre, and the appellants argued that it would go against the firm’s business strategy to locate a second unit there. They then provided an assessment of vacant units within 300 metres of the existing unit.

The inspector concluded that any sequential analysis should be proportionate to the development proposed and agreed that a simpler test could be applied to smaller developments. He was satisfied that the appellant had shown that no suitable town centre unit was available that would not reduce trade at the existing outlet, and on that basis accepted that an edge of centre location would be appropriate.

Inspector: Stephen Brown; Written representations

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