Planning Portal

PPS 5: Retailing and Town Centres
Assessment of Retail Developments: Assessment of Major Retail Proposals

57. The Department will have regard to the following key considerations in assessing proposals for major retail development (over 1000 square metres gross retail floorspace) in locations outside a town centre, or where appropriate, outside the defined primary retail core:
  • the extent to which the proposal complements existing facilities or meets existing deficiencies in shopping provision;
  • the extent to which the development would complement or undermine the strategy for existing centres set out in the Area or Local Plan, taking into account progress being made on its implementation, in particular through public investment;
  • its accessibility by a choice of means of transport;
  • its likely effect on overall travel patterns and overall number and length of car trips;
  • the likely implications for the continuing vitality and viability of existing centres if the proposed development does not take place; and
  • the likely impact on the vitality and viability of existing centres.
  • in assessing the likely impact on the vitality and viability of a centre, the following will be taken into consideration:
  • the potential effects on future private investment needed to safeguard the vitality and viability of that centre (taking account of the likely growth in population and expenditure);
  • the potential changes to the quality, attractiveness and character of the centre;
  • the potential changes to the role of the centre in the economic and social life of the community;
  • the potential changes to the range of services that the centre will continue to provide; and
  • the potential increase in the number of vacant properties in the primary retail core.
58. In considering impact of major retail development proposals on the vitality and viability of existing centres, the Department will consider the incremental effects of the new development on existing centres, where appropriate. The Department will also take into account the likely cumulative effects of recently completed retail developments and outstanding planning permissions for retail development, where appropriate.
59. In addition all proposals for major shopping development will be subject to assessment against criteria relating to impact on local amenity, traffic generation and access, car parking, public transport provision, design and landscaping. In order to properly evaluate the traffic impact of development proposals and to determine what infrastructure improvements may be necessary, a Traffic Impact Assessment may be required in support of the planning application.
60. The Department will normally require that all applications for out-of-centre or out-of-town retail development over 1000 square metres gross retail floorspace should be accompanied by information on:
  • the applicant's approach to site selection and the availability of suitable alternative town centre sites;
  • its likely trading impact on existing centres, including consideration of the cumulative effects of the proposal, recently completed retail developments and outstanding planning permissions for retail development, where appropriate;
  • its accessibility by a choice of means of transport giving an assessment of the proportion of customers likely to arrive by different modes of transport;
  • the contribution that the proposal may make to meeting existing deficiencies in shopping provision or complementing existing facilities;
  • the likely changes in travel patterns over the catchment area and, where appropriate
  • any significant environmental impacts.
61. Where a primary retail core has been identified in a development plan the Department may require such assessments to be submitted for proposals located outside the core but inside the town centre. Such assessments may also be necessary for smaller proposals, depending on their location.
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