Unrestricted sales area apportioned between subdivided units

In a decision remitted by the courts, an inspector has allowed the subdivision of an out of town retail warehouse and unrestricted retail sales from 15 percent of the floorspace of each, on the basis that there would be no harm to a Warwickshire town centre.

The warehouse had been occupied by Homebase Ltd for many years on a lease due to expire in 2017. A lawful development certificate (LDC) to allow 15 per cent of the floorspace of the existing building to be used for open A1 non-food retailing had been issued, after the council was satisfied that the store had operated on that basis for at least ten years in breach of condition. An earlier appeal seeking permission for 25 per cent of the floorspace to be used for sale of clothing, shoes, fashion accessories and jewellery had been dismissed.

In seeking a variation of the sales condition to reflect the LDC, the appellant argued that applying the 15 per cent allowance individually to each of the proposed subdivided units would be inflexible and restrict marketing. Finding no evidence to support this claim, the inspector concluded that a tenant of the smaller unit using the full 15 percent could have an impact on individual shops in the town and the viability and vitality of the town centre as a whole. On this basis, restricting the 15 per cent allowance to each proposed individual unit would be reasonable and necessary.

Inspector: Anthony Lyman; Written representations

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