Javid backs North Yorkshire retail park

Plans for a 'designer outlet centre' on 14 hectares of agricultural land to the south west of Darlington in North Yorkshire have been approved by the communities secretary after he concluded that there were no viable alternative sites and that the scheme would not have an undue negative effect on nearby town centres.

Communities secretary Sajid Javid
Communities secretary Sajid Javid

Developer Scotch Corner Richmond had submitted two separate applications - one proposing a larger gross internal floor area - for the development to Richmondshire District Council. The council had supported both applications.

Due to the size of the development proposed and its possible wider than local impacts, the application was called in for determination by the secretary of state. Following a public inquiry, it was recommended for approval by a planning inspector.

Now, a decision letter issued on behalf of the communities secretary Sajid Javid said that he agreed with this conclusion.

The letter said that the secretary of state agreed with the inspector that the applicant had "undertaken a sequential assessment based on the primary catchment area and concentration on this area was agreed with the local planning authority as being appropriate".

It added that, in addition, "five local planning authorities were contacted to identify sequentially preferable sites for potential investigation" and none were found.

The letter added that Javid also agreed with the inspector that "Darlington town centre remains in good health with a high level of vitality and viability, and would not be at material risk from competition from the designer outlet centre".

It added that Javid found that, "although the proposals would have a trading impact on town centres within the catchment area, the evidence taken as a whole does not sustain a conclusion that either of the applications would be likely to have a significant adverse impact on their vitality and viability".

Overall, both applications should be approved, the secretary of state concluded. 

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