Proposed Main Modifications Schedule

Ends on 5th May 2021 (21 days remaining)
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Chapter 13: Retail and Town Centres

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Category/ Policy No./ Paragraph No.

Section 13.1; New Paras 13.1.8, 13.1.9, 13.1.10

Modification

Insert new paragraphs after paragraph 13.1.7 as follows:

13.1.8 The Council will seek to use conditions where necessary and justified to limit uses within Class E in order to maintain the predominate retail function of the Primary Shopping Areas and ensure an appropriate mix of ground floor uses in accordance with Policy R1.

13.1.9 It is envisaged that conditions could be used for sub-uses within Class E as they have traditionally been used within the previous use classes, such as within Class A; for example, a proposal for a convenience foodstore (formerly Use Class A1) might have conditions imposed to restrict its operation within former Use Class A1 to food or convenience retail use i.e. precluding it from operating as non-food/comparison store unless a further planning permission was sought. Under Class E, the Council would seek to use a similar approach where an applicant has only sought permission and demonstrated the acceptability of certain part of Class E. An example of this could be where permission is sought for office use and had only tested the impact of that use – in that instance, it could be appropriate to restrict the permission by condition to Class E(g). Any use of conditions will so be consistent with national policy and guidance.

13.1.10 Proposals for changes of use away from retail will not be supported within the Primary Shopping Area, unless it can be satisfactorily demonstrated that the units have been marketed for a period of 6 months, or more, with no success and where they would support positively the overall viability and vitality of the centre. In seeking to satisfactorily demonstrate that the site has no reasonable prospect of being used for retail uses, applicants will be expected to demonstrate that the site has remained Vacant for at least 6 months. In addition, applicants will need to provide evidence relating to the marketing of the site for its present use for a minimum period of 6 months. This should demonstrate that despite genuine and sustained attempts to sell or let the site on reasonable terms for retail use, that there is no demand for the unit.

Justification

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Category/ Policy No./ Paragraph No.

Section 13.2,

Table 13.2 and Paragraph 13.2.4

Modification

Amend figure in Table 13.2: Quantitative Need to 2035 to the following:

Convenience goods figure (2016)

9,638 8,638

Amend Table 13.2: Quantitative Need to 2035 as follows:

"Food and drink uses (sqm net gross)"

13.2.3 In order to maintain the vitality of town centres, uses identified within the NPPF as town centre uses and those included within Class E1 A1 use classes should be retained where possible. Within the identified Primary and Secondary Shopping Frontages, proposals for uses that relate to category E(a, b and c) will be looked upon favourably, to continue to promote retail related uses within the Primary Shopping Area. Where there are proposals for changes of use to alternative uses that do not fall within Class E, other A use classes, the potential impact on the town centre as a whole will be considered., including the issue of whether approval of the scheme would result in an over concentration of the proposed use.

13.2.4 To further support thise 'town centre first' approach, the NPPF gives local authorities the option to set their own floorspace thresholds for impact assessments for out of town centre retail, leisure and office proposals. The default threshold set out in the NPPF is being 2,500m2 gross floorspace. Although Central Bedfordshire does have existing food stores with a gross floorspace of more than 2,500m2, these tend to be edge or out of centre stores. In the town centres, convenience store to medium size supermarket provision together with a wide range of small independent outlets is the usual profile. In view of this, new or extended food stores in edge of centre, or out of centre locations, could have a significant impact on town centre provision especially given the scale of the rural centres. It is therefore considered that any proposals over 500m2 gross floorspace, outside of town centre boundaries designated town centres, should be subject to an impact assessment. In addition to the assessment criteria set out within the NPPF, impact assessments should also consider the local criteria included with Policy R1.

Justification

To improve plan clarity (technical correction)

To ensure that the plan is justified and effective.

Consequential change to reflect amended version of Policy R1

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Category/ Policy No./ Paragraph No.

Policy R1

Modification

Policy R1: Ensuring Town Centre Vitality

The Council will support and encourage the retail and service provision main town centre uses within its town centres, service centres and large villages. The scale of development should relate to the Retail Hierarchy.

For the Principal and Secondary Town Centres, Town Centre Boundaries and Primary Shopping Areas are identified on the Policies Map.

Within the Primary Shopping Areas, the Council will seek to focus retail uses. The Council will seek to use conditions where necessary and justified to limit uses within Class E in order to maintain the predominant retail function of the Primary Shopping Areas and ensure an appropriate mix of ground floor uses.

Proposals for changes of use away from retail will not be supported within the Primary Shopping Area, unless it can be satisfactorily demonstrated that the units have been marketed for a period of 6 months or more, with no success and where they would support positively the overall viability and vitality of the centre. :

Within the identified Town Centre Boundaries but outside the Primary Shopping Areas of the Principal and Secondary Town Centres, development proposals for other main town centre uses such as retail, leisure, commercial, office, tourism, cultural, and community uses will be supported.

Proposals for change of use, or re-development of properties, away from these uses within the Town Centre Boundaries, but outside the Primary Shopping Areas, will be supported where providing that they meet all of the following criteria: 

  • The proposed use would be of an appropriate scale within the town centre
  • There is not an existing over-concentration of such uses within the town centre boundary;
  • The proposed use would be appropriate within a town centre setting; 
  • The proposed use would positively support enhance the vitality of the town centre by enhancing extending the range of facilities offered and/or stimulating activity outside normal shopping hours,
  • would maintain an appropriate window display to avoid the creation of a ‘dead’ frontage.

Above ground floor level, proposals for residential use (C3) and general office space (B1a) will be encouraged supported.

Outside designated town centres

The Sequential Test will be applied to proposals for retail uses that are outside the Primary Shopping Area and for retail and other main town centre uses that are not within a designated town centre boundary.  Development proposals that fail the Sequential Test will not be supported.

Retail Impact Assessments will be required for all retail, office and leisure proposals over 500sqm gross external floorspace that are outside a designated town centre boundary. Schemes that are found to have a negative impact on the vitality of town centres will not be supported.

Proposals for retailing in out-of-centre locations will be considered, in conjunction with Policy EMP2.

The Council will seek to use conditions where necessary and justified to limit uses within Class E in order to prevent main town centre uses being permitted outside Primary Shopping Areas and Town Centres without having to meet requirements of the sequential and impact tests.

Justification

For clarity and effectiveness

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Category/ Policy No./ Paragraph No.

Policy R2

Modification

Policy R2: Retail for Minor Service Centres, villages and the rural economy

In order to support vibrant, sustainable and diverse neighbourhoods, and the rural economy, proposals for retail uses within existing Minor Service Centres and villages will be supported where: subject to the following criteria:

  1. the proposal is of a suitable scale to the service centre or village; and
  2. the site is in an appropriate location does not have a negative impact on the Minor Service Centre or village setting when considered against all relevant policies;
  3. The proposal would not result in unsustainable levels of traffic generation.

Proposals for the change of use or re-development of shops or public houses in existing Minor Service Centres or villages, which would result in the loss of such facilities, will not be permitted unless:

  1. there are other facilities performing the same function within easy walking distance of the community; and / or
  2. the facility no longer meets the needs of the community; and
  3. the applicant provides sufficient and demonstrable evidence that there is no realistic prospect of the use continuing, even if permission is refused. that the facility is no longer viable in its current form.

Where the above tests are met, the site/building must firstly be considered for alternative community infrastructure uses, in consultation with the local community, and only where an alternative community infrastructure use is demonstrated to be unviable or unsuitable, these are demonstrated to be unviable or unsuitable will may other uses be considered acceptable.

Proposals for the change of use or re-development of retail premises which are located outside of settlement boundaries, such as including local farm shops, public houses, shops attached to garage sites where this is the only source of retail provision in the area and public houses which are located outside of settlement boundaries, will also be considered against all of the above criteria.

Justification

For clarity and effectiveness

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Category/ Policy No./ Paragraph No.

Policy R3

Modification

Policy R3: Town Centre Development

Dunstable Town Centre

Dunstable town centre is the preferred location for new retail development and other forms of development, such as leisure and entertainment, offices, arts, culture and tourism and should be in accordance with the Strategic Delivery Framework and emerging Regeneration and Master Plans.

Proposals should reflect the scale and characteristics of Dunstable Town Centre, protect and enhance the town's heritage assets and should be subject to a Traffic Impact Assessment, where appropriate.

Consideration should be given to the retail hierarchy and the sequential approach as outlined in Policy R1.

Other Town Centres

In addition to Policy R1 development proposals should be in accordance with the principle and objectives of the relevant and up to date town centre masterplans and development briefs.

Development proposals elsewhere in town centres should complement and not prejudice development proposed by town centre masterplans and development briefs. The council will seek to secure financial contributions to mitigate any significant adverse impacts on existing town centres or planned investment.

Where town centres do not have adopted or endorsed masterplans or development briefs, the Council will seek to support sustainable development in town centres and retain existing retail uses in line with Policy R1.

Justification

To ensure that the policy is justified and effective.


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