DC Casebook: Retail Development - Flagship out-of-centre store approved

The secretary of state has granted permission for a Marks & Spencer out-of-centre store in Cheshire after ruling that it would secure important economic and regeneration benefits.

The scheme comprised an 18,116m2 flagship store providing 2,230m2 net of food sales space and 11,705m2 devoted to comparison goods. The council supported the project as delivering a high-quality department store and no alternative sites had been identified, the appellants asserted.

Following an inquiry, the secretary of state agreed with the inspector that 350 retail jobs, employment in security, cleaning and maintenance and the company's commitment to train local people were significant benefits. The scheme would help diversify the local economy and provide a better choice of shopping facilities, he found. He also noted that the company was offering major investments in a nearby town centre that would enhance its vitality and viability.

The majority of the quantitative and qualitative need for the scheme had been proven and the food retail offer was an ancillary part, he opined. In that light, he saw no need to disaggregate this element of the proposal. Locating the store in Chester would defeat the objective of boosting the local economy and reducing travel distances to a major department store, he reasoned. The scheme's impact would be acceptable, he concluded.

DCS Number 100-064-560

Inspector David Hollis; Inquiry

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