Bulky goods unit found no threat to town centre

No harm would be caused to the vitality and viability of a nearby town centre by a new-build unit at a Black Country retail park, an inspector has decided.

The 891 square metre unit was proposed on designated edge-of-centre land only 300 metres from the town’s primary shopping area. In relation to adopted local plan policy, it comprised a main town centre use. The council’s adopted edge-of-centre retail policy only allowed new retail uses on the scale proposed where they complied with a sequential test and retail impact assessment. However, the appellants had offered to accept a bulky goods-only condition following a previous retail refusal at the site.

The inspector accepted the appellants’ evidence that there were no other suitable or available sites for a bulky goods operator in the primary shopping area. They went on to claim that the unit would draw only 1.6 per cent of comparison goods shoppers from the primary shopping area was. The inspector concluded that the overall effect of the proposal was unlikely to be significant.

He noted the council’s commitment to deliver change in the town centre and improve its overall health. However, he was satisfied that the appeal proposal met the tests set out in paragraph 55 of the NPPF and would not harm the vitality and viability of the town centre, subject to the bulky goods-only condition offered being imposed. 

Inspector: Andrew McGlone; Written representations

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