The appellant sought conservation area consent to demolish shops to enable the construction of a mall anchored by a department store and connected to an existing indoor shopping centre. The council opposed the scheme on the basis that permission had been granted in May 2004 for a larger redevelopment involving a department store, a three-level shopping mall, a covered bus interchange and a 1,900-space multi-storey car park.
The council contended that the appeal proposal threatened to undermine its strategy for regenerating the centre as a whole because it took up part of the land required to implement the preferred scheme. The deputy prime minister found that the appeal scheme accorded with the adopted unitary development plan but gave this little weight because it was substantially out of date.
He determined that the proposal was contrary to the London Plan because it would fail to strengthen and enhance the town centre in view of other development opportunities that would secure greater improvements. In his opinion, the approved comprehensive redevelopment scheme was unlikely to proceed if permission was granted for the mall and this would fail to allow the centre to maximise its potential.
DCS No: 100039443; Inspector: David Baldock; Inquiry.