Next is one of the UK’s largest clothing and furniture/home retailers, and from its Leicestershire headquarters operates over 500 UK stores as well as an expanding Next Directory catalogue and on-line business.
The challenge was to secure planning permission for a new 7,000 sq. m home and fashion retail store on the edge of Marsh Mills Retail Park to be occupied by Next.
The site is a cleared former factory building and has been vacant for over eight years. Planning permission was granted for a mixed bulky retail and employment site in 2007 and was technically implemented but not fully built out. It was acquired by D.U.K.E Properties (Marsh Mills) Ltd when the previous owner of the site – ROK Development Ltd – went into adminstration in 2010.
The Council was keen to see the site developed, but they wished to restrict retail development to traditional bulky categories, and for any scheme to include an element of B-class employment, such as offices or warehousing. The proposed scheme involved development of the whole site for retail and to include fashion floorspace, which introduced a conflict with the Council’s original aspirations. There were also challenging technical requirements with the site on flood risk, drainage, ecology and landscaping due to its location near the River Plym.
Detailed supporting retail, planning and employment evidence was assessmbed and technical justification on highways, flood risk, drainage, ecology and landscape commissioned to support the application. A careful presentation of the arguments in support of the application, and the benefits of the scheme, limited the areas of disagreement with the Council and enabled the committee to reach a position conclusion.
The application was submitted in September 2015, agreed at committee in August 2016 with the Section 106 being signed and planning permission issued in December 2016. Construction is due to commence in September 2017, with an anticipated opening mid 2018.
Our team commenced work on this project whilst at Peter Brett Associates LLP.To find out more about Q+A Planning services contact Peter Keenan on 07702 854 551 or [email protected]