DC Casebook: Retail Development - Spa baths sales directed to town centre

An inspector has refused permission for the change of use of industrial premises in Cheshire for the sale of spa baths and ancillary items after ruling that it should be directed towards a town centre or existing retail park.

The inspector rejected the local authority's assertion that the sale of spa baths, which involved particularly bulky items, could be carried out from a unit of similar size in a primary shopping area. However, he found that suitable premises appeared to be available on the edge of the town centre.

Space was also available on various retail parks in the area, he noted. While these did not form part of the defined retail hierarchy, he found that they had planning permission for retail use and offered potential for linked trips to other stores. He decided that allowing the appeal scheme would set a precedent for similar proposals in out-of-centre locations and their cumulative impact could be harmful.

Inspector: Mel Middleton; Hearing

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