The scheme involved demolishing a vacant Homebase store and replacing it with five new units with new facades and a combined gross floorspace of 8020 square metres. The scheme also proposed two small food and drink outlets.
The council objected on the basis of a conflict with retail hierarchy and sequential test policy. After considering the evidence, the reporter found that the unit sizes within the proposed development would be too large to be accommodated in vacant shops and on other sites within or on the edge of the town centre.
He held that conditions restricting sales to bulky goods, requiring minimum unit sizes and preventing subdivision would ensure that the development would not compete with other stores in the town, so that any impact on its vitality and viability would be kept to a minimum. The reporter was satisfied that the smaller retail units would have no adverse impact on the town centre and that the proposal would accord with the retail hierarchy and sequential test and allowed the appeal.
Inspector: John Martin; Written representations