Plans approved for Yorkshire out-of-centre retail scheme

Plans have been approved for a retail-led mixed-used scheme on a seven-hectare site near Rotherham after planners concluded that impacts on the town's centre could be mitigated.

Rotherham: retail park impact judged acceptable
Rotherham: retail park impact judged acceptable

Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council approved a full planning application for the scheme, which would serve as a local centre for the Waverley new community in the south of the borough, at a meeting earlier this week.

The application sought consent for a mixed-use centre with 10,157 square metres of retail space, 2,478 square metres of food and drink uses, a 1,099 square metre health centre and a gym. The development is intended to serve a neighbouring newly-built housing development.

A planning report, which recommended approval, said that an initial retail impact assessment had concluded that without any clear proposed controls, the scheme would be likely to cause "significant adverse impact on the health of, and existing investment within, Rotherham town centre".

However, it added that proposed controls over the gross retail floorspace and net comparison goods floorspace, along with restrictions on the range of comparison goods to be sold, would make a "material difference to the scale of overall impact on Rotherham town centre".

The report also said that, having considered the impact of the proposal on existing and future investment, planners concluded that "there is unlikely to be any significant adverse impact upon planned or committed investment in Rotherham town centre".

The report accepted that the National Planning Policy Framework advises that permission should be refused if the impact of an out-of-centre retail proposal is likely to have a "significant adverse impact". But with the strict controls proposed in place, it added, "the impact has been reduced".

"Therefore it is considered that the development, while having an impact on the town centre, will bring with it a host of benefits that act as material considerations and on this occasion it is considered that these outweigh the adverse impact on the town centre," the document concluded.

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