Javid approves Lancashire edge-of-town supermarket

The communities secretary has approved plans for a supermarket on the edge of Southport in Lancashire, after he agreed with an inspector that the scheme's 'impact on the vitality and viability of the town centre would not be significantly adverse'.

Communities secretary Sajid Javid
Communities secretary Sajid Javid

The application for the scheme sought permission for the demolition of three existing retail units and the construction of a new supermarket with car parking at ground floor level, a petrol filling station, public recycling facility and related works at Meols Cop Retail Park at Foul Lane in the town.

The application was recommended for approval by Sefton Borough Council, but was referred for a decision by the secretary of state due to its possible negative impacts on the town.

A planning inspector subsequently recommended that the development be approved, and a decision letter issued on behalf of the the communities secretary Sajid Javid this week said that he agreed with this conclusion.

The letter said that Javid agreed with the inspector’s conclusion that the several of the council’s retail planning policies were out of date because they were inconsistent with the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and, therefore, the presumption in favour of sustainable development should apply.

The letter said that Javid concluded that the development would "contribute to economic growth and generate a significant number of new jobs both during the construction phase and once the store was operational".

It said that, even "when set against the smaller number of jobs which may be lost at other stores as a result of the proposal, the secretary of state affords this benefit significant weight".

Javid concluded that there would be some adverse impact on the town's primary shopping area and wider town centre "but that this would be relatively small, and he affords this modest weight against the proposal".

The letter said that, "taking account of its existing health, the impact on the vitality and viability of the town centre would not be significantly adverse, that none of the existing foodstores would be likely to close and that local consumer choice and trade would not be diminished as a result of the proposal".

The letter concluded that Javid found there were "no adverse impacts that would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits".

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