July 6th, 2012 |
Protecting Retail ……
As Bruce Smart wrote on onlineFOCUS yesterday, councils have no control over the type of shop that can open in what is designated as a retail outlet.
But when someone wants to change a shop into something that isn’t retail, then it does need planning permission. And there’s an example of this right now, where officers are recommending that we refuse to give that permission, in order to keep a parade of shops as a viable shopping location
It’s in Hullbridge, at 249 Ferry Road. There’s an application to turn a hardware store into a dog and cat grooming parlour.
You can download the officers report here (47kb)
Here’s a few paragraphs from the report:
This small parade provides a hardware shop (the site) , a kebab shop, butchers/grocers, chinese takeaway, convenience store, hairdressers and a veterinary practice. Four of these units (including the application site) are in use for retail purposes.
Information stated on the application form indicates that the retail unit is not vacant. The unit was still trading at the time of officer’s site visit. No information has been supplied by the applicant with regards to attempts to let or sell the unit for retail purposes. The premises have not been vacant for a period of 12 months. With no information provided to consider the continued viability of the retail use , to approve the application would be contrary to Policy SAT6 of the saved Local Plan.
1 The proposal would result in the loss of an existing retail unit. The Local Planning Authority considers such retail units important in providing a range of services for the day – to – day needs of the nearby residential neighbourhood. The applicant has failed to demonstrate that the loss of the retail unit is justified because the unit is not vacant and no information has been submitted regarding the viability of a retail use nor that the unit cannot be sold or let for retail purposes. If allowed the proposal would result in the loss of an existing retail unit within the local shopping parade that would further undermine the retail function and vitality of the parade in conflict with the requirements of Policy RTC3 to the Council’s Local Development Framework Core Strategy (adopted December 2011) and part (i) to Policy SAT 6 to the saved Rochford District Replacement Local Plan (2006).
This application will be refused unless any councillor calls it in by 1 pm on Wednesday. District councillors still have to keep an open mind on this one in case it is called in.