Casebook: Appeal Cases - Retail Development - Supermarket judged no threat to overall scheme

Aldi Stores has won permission to redevelop a former hat factory on the fringe of a Warwickshire town centre conservation area for retail purposes after an inspector agreed that it would sustain and enhance the town's vitality and viability and improve a prominent site.

The appeal site formed part of a wider area allocated for a mixture of employment and commercial uses. The main area of dispute revolved around whether a single use should be allowed on the appeal site or whether a mixed-use development should be prepared for the whole of the allocated area at the outset. The inspector could not see that the store would prejudice redevelopment or refurbishment of the remaining site buildings and might act as a catalyst.

He did not consider that the lack of any direct link between the appeal site and the remaining buildings would seriously frustrate the council's objectives. He held that to seek a mix of uses over the whole site might prove unduly onerous. He recognised that the proposal would produce a modern building that would reflect little of the town's historic character.

However, he remarked that the site lay in a zone of transition between historic buildings and the contemporary functionality of a modern petrol filling station and a supermarket. It would provide a focal point at an entrance to the town centre, he concluded.

DCS No: 100039199; Inspector: Stephen Pratt; Hearing.

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