Planning Portal

PPS 5: Retailing and Town Centres
Planning for Retail Developments: Comparison Shopping and Mixed Retailing

38. Town centres will be the preferred location for major comparison shopping and mixed retailing development proposals. The availability of suitable sites within the town centre, in particular those which have been identified in the development plan, will be an important consideration where development is proposed outside the town centre. Applications should be able to demonstrate that all potential town centre sites have been thoroughly assessed.
39. Major proposals for comparison shopping or mixed retailing will only be permitted in out-of-centre locations where the Department is satisfied that suitable town centres are not available and where the development satisfies all the following criteria:
  • complements or meets existing deficiencies in the overall shopping provision;
  • is unlikely to lead to a significant loss of investment in existing centres;
  • is unlikely to have an adverse impact on the vitality or viability of an existing centre or undermine its convenience or comparison shopping function;
  • will not lead to an unreasonable or detrimental impact on amenity, traffic movements or road safety;
  • will be accessible by a choice of means of transport;
  • will provide adequate car parking, cycle parking and facilities for other transport modes, where appropriate;
  • is to a standard of design, of both the buildings and the spaces around the buildings, which contributes positively to townscape and is sensitive to the surrounding area;
  • provides suitable access for the disabled;
  • will be unlikely to add tot he overall number and length of car trips and should, preferably, contribute to a decrease; and
  • will be unlikely to prejudice the implementation of development plan policies and proposals.
Where a proposed out-of-centre development satisfies the above criteria the Department will favour an edge-of-centre location over a location elsewhere out-of-centre.
40. Where primary retail core has been identified, in a development plan, as the preferred location for major retail development, the availability of suitable sites within the primary retail core, in particular those which have been identified in the development plan, will be an important considerations in cases where development is proposed outside the core. Applications should be able to demonstrate that all potential primary retail core sites have been thoroughly assessed. Major proposals for comparison shopping or mixed retailing will only be permitted within a town centre, but outside the primary core, where the Department is satisfied that suitable core sites are not available and where the development satisfies all the criteria set out in paragraph 39.
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