Welcome to Bedford Borough Council

You are here: Planning Policy > Policies Map > Local Plan Written Statement

7 / SHOPPING

SHOPPING POLICIES

Policy SH1 Regional shopping centres

Policy SH2 Shopping development in the town centre

Policy SH3 Primary shopping frontage

Policy SH4 Pilgrim Square

Policy SH5 District centre

Policy SH6 Local centres

Policy SH7 New local shopping facilities

Policy SH8 Change of use of local shops

Policy SH9 Loss of village shops, POs and pubs

Policy SH10 New village shops, POs and pubs

Policy SH11 Farm shops

Policy SH12 Comparison retail outside primary and district centre areas

Policy SH13 Comparison retail – type of goods and sub-division

Policy SH16 New convenience retail development

Policy SH17 New convenience retail development

Policy SH19 Restaurants and take-aways

Policy SH20 Amusement centres

INTRODUCTION

7.1 Shopping in some form or other is an important feature in the lives of everyone but people choose to fulfil their shopping needs in various ways. To many people shopping has become a leisure activity in itself and therefore families are prepared to travel greater distances for the ‘day out’ experience of town centres and out of centre regional shopping centres or retail parks which may be some distance away.

7.2 Traditionally trips to stock up with convenience goods were made frequently and more often than not by foot. The increase in car ownership has brought about a dramatic change in this pattern for many people, with weekly or even monthly food shopping trips now more likely to be the norm.

7.3 Retailers have responded to this change in practice by building larger stores with vast areas of surface level parking for the convenience of their customers. Because of the size of site required, new stores have been built away from the traditional centre on greenfield sites with few physical restrictions. However, since the publication of the revised PPG6 in July 1996, retailers have shown some flexibility in their store requirements manifested in smaller sized stores, on more constrained sites but often with greater accessibility to existing town centres, thereby relying less on the use of the car.

7.4 Until fairly recently town centres also dominated the market for comparison goods shopping, but again personal mobility has encouraged retailers to look to locations other than the traditional centre to sites where larger single level stores can be accommodated more easily in terms of cost and land availability. In some respects these stores complement the town centre as bulky items can be stored and displayed with ease and large articulated transport vehicles are kept out of the town thus reducing congestion.

7.5 However, increasing pressure from retailers to broaden the range of goods being sold in out of town stores, to include amongst other things clothes, toys and electrical goods, poses a direct threat to the traditional retail base of the town centre. It is essential that the potential detrimental impact of out of town store proposals is fully appreciated, as retail expenditure is central to the continued vitality and viability of the centre as a whole. In this way, the established town centres face competition from retail warehouses outside of such centres, rather than the two types of retailing being complementary to each other.

7.6 In order to gain a clear and up to date assessment of how the town centre is performing, the Council commissioned a ‘health check’ of retailing in the Borough in 1994 that was subsequently updated in 1996 and again in 2000. On the basis of these studies the consultants report that:

– Bedford town centre is currently vital and viable.

– Bedford has scope to expand its retail provision in the primary shopping area through additional comparison goods floorspace, in the form of a prestigious new scheme, and to improve its attractiveness to shoppers in order to maintain its existing levels of trade retention.

– Existing and planned out of centre food store provision is sufficient to meet the catchment population's needs. Further out of centre development could lead to an adverse impact on the existing town centre stores.

– Adequate provision has been made for retail warehousing to provide shoppers with a comprehensive range and choice of facilities. Further out of town developments would divert trade from the town centre and may undermine the prospect of securing new town centre development as well as the viability of shopping facilities in other locations.

– Although the town centre environment has been improved this must continue if Bedford is to retain and expand its retail facilities.

– The quality of the retail stock needs to improve so as to provide more suitable accommodation.

– The town needs to foster and improve its role as a provider of accommodation for specialist and high quality retailers.

– The High Street remains an important but under utilised retail frontage and measures should be taken to prevent its further decline by focussing appropriate retail development in this area. Under the terms of the sequential test it offers retail redevelopment opportunities in the primary shopping area.

7.7 The study forms a basis for both the Shopping and Town Centre chapters of this plan.

7.8 Of prime relevance to the shopping policies of the Local Plan is the revised PPG6 Town Centres and Retail Developments. This states that in drawing up development plans local planning authorities should, after considering the need for new development, adopt a sequential approach to selecting sites for new retail development. In this context the Borough Council has adopted a preferential hierarchy to be applied when considering retail developments. The first preference will be for new retail development to be located within the primary shopping area of Bedford or district centre as defined in the Plan, followed by edge of centre sites where suitable town centre sites are not available. It is important when considering development proposals within the district centre that they should not be at the expense of the primary shopping area. Outside the primary shopping area, district centre and local centres, the need for new retail development will have to be proven, and the scale of any new development would need to be compatible with its location. In assessing applications for new retail development their likely effect on future private sector investment within the primary shopping area, district or local centres will be a material consideration.

7.9 As well as having a bearing on the retail performance of the town centre, out of town stores have an impact on the quality of the local and global environment by virtue of the trips generated and therefore the release of CO2 emissions from vehicle exhausts. Maintaining the vitality and viability of existing centres relies on retaining and developing a wide range of attractions and amenities. Facilities which are more accessible by foot and/or public transport will help to reduce emissions, and the use of park and ride schemes will alleviate the problem of slow moving traffic creating pollution in the town centre. Linked to the desire to reduce travel is the Council’s aim to provide and maintain local shopping facilities, both in district and local centres and in villages. Smaller local shops and post offices provide an important social focus as well as supporting the everyday shopping needs of local communities.

7.10 The Borough Council must therefore address this range of issues and put in place a series of robust policies which allow the Borough to react positively to current and changing retail pressures, but maintains the focus of the strategy on the development and improvement of the primary shopping area over the longer term.

KEY ISSUES

7.11 The key shopping issues are:

  1. The town centre's vitality and viability and particularly that of the primary shopping area, must be protected and/or enhanced.

  2. Priority must be given to attracting new retail investment to sites within the primary shopping area, before considering edge of centre sites, so as to expand and improve Bedford’s retail provision for comparison goods floorspace, thus maintaining and improving the town’s position in the sub-region.

  3. To maintain a wide range of shopping facilities in the Borough in terms of choice and accessible locations to meet the needs of residents in the area.

  4. To promote sustainable locations for new retail development, which offer a choice of access, particularly for those without the use of a private car.

  5. 5 To safeguard and strengthen local convenience shopping and service functions, in district and local centres, to meet the day to day requirements of residents.

  6. To address the environmental effects of retail outlets, particularly in residential areas.

  7. Safeguard and strengthen local convenience shopping in the rural area and protect and encourage village shops.

THE SUB-REGIONAL CONTEXT

7.12 In this respect, Bedford fulfils a sub-regional role. Despite pressure for out of town facilities, the town centre is still the primary source of comparison goods shopping in the Borough and additionally has an important role in the provision of convenience goods, especially for those who do not have access to or choose not to shop by car.

7.13 The town centre is however, under continuing pressure from other higher order centres such as Milton Keynes, Cambridge and Northampton which can offer shoppers a wider range of shops and goods from which to choose. With the completion of the extension to the shopping centre in Central Milton Keynes, it is likely that scope for trade diversion will be even greater.

7.14 Experience nationally has shown that new regional shopping centres can have a substantial impact over a wide area. In most regions, there is unlikely to be scope for an additional regional shopping centre without adversely affecting the vitality and viability of existing centres; hence the Borough Council is concerned at the potential effect of any new regional shopping proposals whether in Bedford or a neighbouring authority. If such proposals are brought forward, they should be through the development plan preparation process.

7.15 Whilst the continued vitality and viability of the town centre is dependant on more than just the retail sector, it is this function which underpins its economic success. Therefore in order to protect Bedford’s role as a subregional centre, and to ensure the town centre's continued vitality and viability the following policy should be implemented:

POLICY SH1
There is no identified deficiency in the range or choice of shopping opportunities in the Bedford area so as to warrant proposals for a regional or sub-regional shopping centre. Any proposals for new regional or sub-regional shopping centres should be brought forward through the development plan process and must demonstrate that:
i) there is a deficiency of higher-order shopping centres;
ii) continued public and/or private sector investment in nearby town centres will not be jeopardised;
iii) the cumulative impact of the proposed development, together with other recently developed and permitted developments will not adversely affect the vitality and viability of any nearby centre;
iv) there is no loss of Area of Special Restraint, or important open space, habitats or countryside, or the best and most versatile agricultural land;
v) public transport can adequately serve a wide population; and,
vi) the effect on the road network and on overall car use would be acceptable.

RETAIL HIERARCHY

7.16 The retail hierarchy in Bedford Borough comprises the following:

– the primary shopping area within Bedford town centre

– a district centre at Saxon Centre, Kempston

– local centres consisting of a small grouping of shops within the urban area (these are listed in paragraph 7.17)

– village centres and shop

In addition to the above hierarchy the Borough is well served by a range of superstores, retail parks and retail warehouses.

7.17 The local centres referred to are illustrated on the Proposals Map. They consist of the following:

Ampthill Road, Brickhill Drive, Chiltern Avenue, Gostwick Road, London Road, North Parade-Greyfriars, Roff Avenue, Queen’s Drive, Avon Drive, Castle Road, Church Lane, Ford End Road, Iddesleigh Road, Harrowden Road, Midland Road (west), Putnoe Lane, St. Mary’s Street, Tavistock Street, Wendover Drive. Also Williamson Road, Springfield Centre, Orchard Street, Bedford Road and High Street/St John’s Street in Kempston.

BEDFORD TOWN CENTRE

7.18 Bedford currently has a vital and viable town centre which consists of a mosaic of many different uses, but underpinned by retailing activity with the provision of additional comparison and convenience goods floorspace.

7.19 It is considered that the existing hierarchy, and range of retail developments, will continue to meet the requirements for shopping in the Borough throughout the plan period. However, emphasis should still be placed on encouraging new retail developments in the primary shopping area, thus improving the range and choice of shopping facilities in Bedford. This will strengthen its role in the sub-region and improve its attractiveness to investors and the public.

7.20 The Borough Council has committed considerable resources to improving, promoting and making safer the environment of the town. (see Bedford Town Centre chapter). This investment needs to be protected, nurtured and supported by a policy framework which clearly favours new retail development in the primary shopping area within the centre.

TOWN CENTRE SHOPPING DEVELOPMENT

7.21 One of Bedford town centre’s greatest assets is its compact primary shopping area. The extent of this is shown on the Proposals Map and further retail development in the town centre should seek to maintain and enhance this feature.

7.22 In recent years the Borough Council has undertaken a number of successful environmental enhancement schemes in order to improve the town centre in terms of design and accessibility. The Borough Council intends to extend this programme but considers that in order to further enhance the vitality and viability of the town a new high quality shopping development is needed.

7.23 Whilst many major retailers are represented in the town, the quality of accommodation occupied is far from ideal. The Borough Council wishes to promote the redevelopment of existing units and new accommodation at Pilgrim Square, in the form of a high quality scheme which satisfies the modern day requirements of both niche and multiple retailers.

7.24 The Borough Council also wishes to encourage specialist shops and other uses which give the town a distinct identity.

7.25 The High Street provides an important opportunity within the primary shopping area as a preferred location for new retail investment. Once the main focus of the town it is now a secondary retailing location bisected by the busy A6 trunk road. The High Street still maintains a stock of larger buildings many of which could be adapted to attract new retailers to the town thus improving the overall vitality and viability of the town centre. The recent investment by Wilkinsons in the redevelopment of 29-41 High Street is a creditable example of what can be achieved without resorting to out of centre locations. The Borough Council will consider the use of appropriate powers within its remit to facilitate site assembly.

POLICY SH2
The primary shopping area within the town centre of Bedford will be the preferred location for new and upgraded shopping development, and planning permission will be granted where this:
i) enhances Bedford's role as a sub regional centre by adding to the quality or range of goods to be sold and/or adds to the quality and quantity of accommodation available;
ii) does not detract from the compact nature of the primary shopping area;
iii) is of a design appropriate with its location in the town centre and which is well related in design terms to neighbouring development; and
iv) is well related in scale and form to neighbouring development (see Policies BE29 and BE30).

PRIMARY SHOPPING FRONTAGE

7.26 The primary shopping frontage can be found within the primary shopping area. This is defined on the Proposals Map and is that area where class A1 uses predominate. It reflects the very heart of the town centre where footfall is the highest and where the majority of comparison shopping takes place. A recent trend has been the growth of service outlets within Class A2 of the Use Classes Order (financial and professional services). Whilst such uses are important to the town centre and support its retail function, the intense competition for prime frontage space can, if not effectively controlled by policy, push out other retail uses thereby diminishing the choice and attractiveness of the centre of the town. Therefore in order to protect and maintain its retail function:

POLICY SH3
Within the primary shopping frontage, changes of use from retail (Class A1) to A2, A3 and non-retail use at ground floor level will not be permitted. Redevelopment in such areas will be permitted only in those instances where retail uses (Class A1) are proposed at ground floor level.

7.27 See Town Centre Policy TC6 for changes of use outside the primary retail frontage.

PILGRIM SQUARE

7.28 Key opportunity sites exist in the town centre. These are shown on the Proposals Map and are described in more detail in Appendix D. The major retail development opportunity is Pilgrim Square whose potential needs to be carefully protected and nurtured through the local plan period so that its attractiveness is maximised and the necessary level of investment achieved. This opportunity will allow for the redevelopment of the Bus Station and adjacent property in a manner which contributes significantly to the overall vitality and viability of the town centre and would effectively integrate the development into the prime retail area of Midland Road/Silver Street/Harpur Street.

POLICY SH4
Permission will be given for proposals which realise the retail potential of the Pilgrim Square redevelopment site (as identified on the Proposals Map). Proposals should:
i) be effectively and imaginatively integrated with the retail core and where possible the primary retail frontage;
ii) respect established neighbouring development in terms of scale, character and external/internal design but provide a landmark building of high quality design;
iii) make adequate provision for a re-positioned bus interchange; and,
iv) satisfy the requirements of the highway authority in terms of access to and from the scheme for both shoppers and servicing vehicles.
The Borough Council will take any appropriate action it considers necessary to facilitate site assembly, including compulsory purchase.

MARKETS

7.30 Bedford also benefits from a thriving charter market (charter granted in 1166). This plays an important part in the complex interaction of town centre activities, generating a greater number of visitors to the town on market days. The Council will therefore safeguard and strengthen the charter market.

DISTRICT CENTRES

7.31 There is one district centre in the Bedford/Kempston urban area: Saxon Centre, Kempston. District centres consist of groups of shops separate from the town centre, usually containing at least one food supermarket or superstore, and non-retail services such as banks, building societies and restaurants. They provide an important complementary retail function to the town centre that is underpinned by their convenience and the service they offer. Development proposals within district centres should not be at the expense of the primary shopping area.

POLICY SH5
Proposals for new retail facilities within the District Centre will be supported if:
i) new development will be of a scale and form which is appropriate to the convenience and service function of the District Centre;
ii) the applicant can demonstrate that the scale and form of the development proposed and its function could not be more appropriately accommodated within the town centre;
iii) the applicant can demonstrate that the proposals would not have an adverse impact on the town centre or on nearby local centres; and
iv) satisfactory servicing and car parking facilities can be provided to avoid on street congestion and to protect highway safety; and
v) the proposal will be accessible by a choice of means of transport other than the private car.

LOCAL CENTRES

7.32 Local centres comprise of a small grouping of shops within the urban area usually including a newsagent, a general store, a sub post office, a pharmacy and other small shops of a local nature. Local shops fulfil an important social as well as economic role, offering convenient service in local centres, particularly for those who are less mobile and do not have use of a car, for example the elderly, disabled and families with young children. Bedford has several well established local centres which the Council is eager to retain as an important part of the overall shopping provision in the town.

POLICY SH6
Proposals for new small shops within existing local centres or existing residential areas as identified on the Proposals Map will be supported if:
i) the proposal is of a scale appropriate to the role and function of the local centre and is intended to principally serve the needs of the local community;
ii) the proposal will attract trade primarily other than by the motor car;
iii) the proposal will not have an adverse impact on residential amenity, and is acceptable on highway and environmental grounds; and,
iv) satisfactory servicing, cycling and car parking facilities can be provided.

7.33 By their very nature, such small local shops will be located close to or actually in residential areas and therefore it may be necessary to control the types of retail use to prevent unnecessary disturbance to residents.

7.34 There will often be a need to provide new local retail facilities where and when new residential development is planned. The location and range of provision will depend to some extent on the scale of development proposed and the availability of existing facilities in the immediate locality. New retail development in new residential areas should be planned carefully. The Borough Council will indicate the most appropriate location for new local centre development within the local plan and in development briefs so that it is most effectively integrated with new and existing housing.

POLICY SH7
Where new residential areas are proposed and it is considered that a local need will arise, the Council will identify in the Local Plan and in development briefs, sites for new local shopping facilities in those areas which are not adequately served by existing local shopping facilities.

CHANGE OF USE OF LOCAL SHOPS

7.35 Local convenience shops have significant economic as well as social functions. They offer a particularly important and convenient service for those who are less mobile, especially elderly and disabled people, families with small children and those without access to a car. For this reason the Council will promote their retention as an important part of the Borough's retail hierarchy.

7.36 Changes of use, whether in town, district or local centres can create new concentrations of single uses such as restaurants and take away food outlets where the cumulative effects can cause local problems. Such proposals should be assessed not only on their positive contribution to diversification but also on the cumulative effects on such matters as loss of retail outlets, traffic, parking and local residential amenity.

POLICY SH8
In district and local centres, changes of use of shop units will only be permitted where:
i) the applicant can demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Council that the vitality and viability of the centre would not be adversely affected;
ii) the applicant can demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Council that the proposed change of use will sustain and enhance the vitality and viability of the centre offering an improved range of everyday community, shopping and employment opportunities;
iii) the change of use will not lead to a reduction in the diversity of uses whether individually or cumulatively with other recent or permitted developments;
iv) the change of use would not have a detrimental impact upon issues such as traffic, parking, and local residential amenity; and
v) the applicant can demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Council that the proposal will be accessible by a choice of means of transport other than the private car.

VILLAGE CENTRES

7.37 Village shops similarly play a vital social, as well as economic role in rural areas as do post offices and public houses. The loss of the traditional village shop or public house can have a particularly severe impact on the community it serves. For this reason the Council is keen to support the retention of existing facilities and provision of new ones in villages where the opportunity arises. Innovation in the provision of facilities to serve the rural areas is already being experienced, for example in Milton Ernest the post office is located in the garden centre. The Council is keen to see other such combined schemes, which give mutual support to village facilities, come to fruition.

POLICY SH9
In villages, the Council will only grant permission for the change of use of shops, post offices and public houses to other uses when:
i) alternative shops, post offices or public houses are available in that village, ie. the service currently provided (or in the case of vacant buildings the last use to be provided) is not lost to that community;
ii) the applicant can demonstrate that the current (or last) use is no longer viable;
iii) the property has been actively marketed at a realistic price; and
iv) the proposal fulfils the criteria of other policies in the plan.
POLICY SH10
Planning permission will be granted for small convenience shops, post offices and public houses serving local rural communities where:
i) the proposal is located within the village, or on the edge of the village, if no appropriate or available site exists within the village;
ii) the design, scale and siting of the proposal are in keeping with the local character (see Policy BE29);
iii) there will be no resulting adverse effect on residential or visual amenity;
iv) any retail function is restricted to convenience goods and/or food only, and is of a size compatible to the rural community it is intended to serve;
v) the proposal could provide the potential to reduce the need for, or distance travelled, by car;
vi) the proposal would not have an adverse impact on existing or nearby village shops or would provide a necessary qualitative improvement to the range of convenience shopping available.

FARM SHOPS

7.38 Farm shops can have an important role to play in providing for the needs of local communities. Farm shops that only sell produce from the farm or agricultural unit to which they relate do not require planning permission. Concern does arise when the range of goods sold from farm shops extends to goods not produced on the farm which then competes directly with village shops and undermines the viability of the village shop and the vitality of the village community. Farm shops which sell a wide range of goods and are located outside of a village can generate unnecessary vehicle trips which would be contrary to the principles of sustainability.

POLICY SH11
Planning permission will only be given for farm shops to sell produce not grown on the farm to which the shop relates, in the following circumstances:
i) the proposed shop is located within a village; or
ii) the scale and scope of retailing will not harm the viability of retail facilities in any nearby settlement; or
iii) the scale and design of the proposal is commensurate with the character of the immediate locality and the wider rural area and its function; and
iv) the road access and exit at the site will be safe, and the local road network can safely handle the extra traffic generated.

COMPARISON AND CONVENIENCE RETAILING SCOPE FOR NEW DEVELOPMENT.

7.39 The guidance in PPG6 requires local authorities to consider the scope for new retail development and the consultant’s reports commissioned by the Borough Council have informed the Council’s strategy and policies in this respect.

7.40 The scope for new retail development can be evaluated under two broad headings: comparison retailing and convenience retailing.

COMPARISON RETAIL DEVELOPMENT

7.41 The quantitative analysis undertaken and review of current retailer demand suggests that it is realistic to continue to plan for a quality comparison development in the primary shopping area of up to about 15,000sq.m (see Policy SH4). Given the range of pre-conditions that will need to be met to achieve this policy objective, it is not considered that there will be any scope for further comparison retail development outside of the primary shopping area during the Local Plan period, despite the additional expenditure growth predicted in the period 2001-2006. In addition to the Pilgrim Square development it is anticipated that increases in expenditure growth will encourage re-investment in the High Street and by existing retailers in the primary shopping area.

7.42 There is therefore no need to identify additional comparison shopping floorspace outside of Bedford at this time. It would be unnecessary, imprudent and would undermine the achievement of fundamental policy objectives that underpin the Council’s retail strategy.

7.43 The Borough Council will undertake to review the scope for further comparison retail development before the end of the plan period. It will then be better able to predict to what extent Bedford has maintained its market share; the longer term consequences of recent retail warehouse developments; the extent to which Pilgrim Square has progressed and the extent to which other primary shopping area or edge of centre opportunities have been identified.

POLICY SH12
Proposals for new comparison retail development outside the primary shopping area and district centre will not be permitted unless:
i) the applicant can demonstrate that there is a need for the type of development proposed which would not undermine the stated strategy and retail policies of the local planning authority;
ii) the applicant can demonstrate that the proposal could not be accommodated within the primary shopping area or district centre or, as a second preference, on the edge of the primary shopping area;
iii) the applicant can demonstrate that the cumulative impact of the proposed development, together with other committed and proposed developments, do not adversely affect the vitality and viability of the town, district centre and local centres or have a negative impact on the Council’s strategy to sustain and enhance these centres;
iv) the site is conveniently accessible by a choice of means of transport other than the motor car including public transport, cycle and by foot;
v) the proposal is in close proximity to the main road network and the means of accessing the site meet the requirements of the highway authority;
vi) sufficient parking and servicing facilities are proposed to cater for the retail uses on the site taking into account the extra length of stay created by those undertaking linked trips.
For the avoidance of doubt Policy SH12 relates to retail warehouses, retail parks, warehouse clubs and factory outlet centres and other new retail formats that might emerge during the plan period that include comparison goods. In relation to edge of centre proposals 200-300 metres should be taken as a guide to the distance shoppers are likely to be prepared to walk between the primary shopping area and new retail development.

7.44 Bedford is well served with a broad range of retail warehouse facilities outside the primary shopping area both within and on the edge of the urban area. These sites are listed in Table S1. Those that cater primarily for bulky durable goods are less readily accommodated in the town centre and the Council recognises that they may have different locational requirements. However, such proposals would need to be justified with reference to Policy SH12. Goods such as DIY goods (including garden centres), floor coverings, furniture, electrical, pets and pet foods, motor accessories, furnishings and fabrics are considered to be bulky durable goods. The Council’s intention is to retain the provision of existing and permitted retail warehouses and retail parks as they contribute to the overall retail offer available in the Bedford area. However some of the existing sites in Table S1 are not well located and their redevelopment for alternative appropriate development could be considered if significant community or environmental benefit could be demonstrated and achieved as a result.

Table S1

Comparison Goods

 

m2

ft2

Do It All (Ashburnham Road)

2,295

(24,700)

Magnet (Kingsway)

1,003

(10,800)

Jewsons (London Road)

1,108

(11,922)

Do It All (London Road)

3,716

(40,000)

Denver Discount (London Road)

2,323

(25,000)

Do It All (Rope Walk)

3,446

(37,100)

Halfords (Rope Walk)

1,533

(16,500)

Rope Walk (Phase II)

6,260

(67,380)

Hatters (Goldington Road)

5,096

(54,854)

MFI (Norse Road)

4,119

(44,340)

Lansbury Development (Phases I & II) (Riverfield Drive)

5,523

(59,445)

Homebase (Riverfield Drive)

3,454

(37,180)

Interchange Retail Park (Phases I & II)

16,125

(173,580)

Interchange Retail Park (Phase III)

5,110

(54,980)

Total

61,111

(657,781)

* all floorspaces are gross and in some instances are rounded up/down.

Table S2

Convenience Goods

Out of centre

m2

ft2

Sainsbury's (Clapham Rd)

7,544

(81,173)

Sainsbury's (Saxon Centre)

5,962

(64,183)

Tesco (Cardington Rd)

6,888

(74,140)

Tesco (Goldington Rd)

6,473

(69,680)

Total

26,867

(289,176)

In centre

m2

ft2

Marks & Spencer

790

(8,500)

Lidl

1,140

(12,226)

Iceland

409

(4,400)

Total

2,339

(25,126)

* all floorspaces are gross and in some instances are rounded up/down.

7.44a Developers will be expected to present details as to the nature of the retailing use proposed out of centre so as to demonstrate that the requirements of the sequential test are met. Out of centre retail development can change their composition over time. There is a need to ensure that a development that has satisfied the criteria of Policy SH12 does not subsequently change its character unacceptably in ways that would create a development that should have been refused on grounds of adverse impact on the vitality and viability of an existing centre.

POLICY SH13
Proposals for new comparison retail developments, permitted in accordance with Policy SH12, will where necessary be subject to conditions to ensure that the development does not subsequently change its character unacceptably. Such conditions may
i) limit the type of goods to be sold; and
ii) prevent the development being sub-divided.

7.45 There is no identified deficiency in the range of retail warehouse shopping opportunities in the Bedford area so as to warrant the allocation of sites for new additional retail warehouse floorspace in this local plan.

CONVENIENCE RETAIL DEVELOPMENT

7.46 Bedford has a well developed range of large modern foodstores occupying town, district centres and out of centre locations as Table S2 illustrates.

7.47 Despite the prospect of expenditure growth the existing provision is considered to be capable of meeting Bedford’s current and anticipated food shopping needs without further single site provision being made. There is no identified deficiency in the range or choice of convenience shopping opportunities in the Bedford area to warrant proposals for additional convenience floorspace outside of the primary shopping area and district centre. The Borough Council will not therefore allocate further sites for convenience retail development in the local plan, except those identified as being necessary to serve new residential areas which will offset some of the anticipated expenditure growth.

7.48 The Borough Council recognises that out of centre locations offer benefits to retailers and customers and are an integral part of Bedford’s sub-regional offer and the relevant sites identified in Table S2 will be protected from changes of use.

7.49 When considering edge of centre proposals the Borough Council considers that 200-300 metres is the maximum distance that shoppers will be prepared to walk to an edge of centre development from the primary shopping area.

7.49a Planning Policy Guidance Note No. 6 advises that discount stores selling a limited range of goods can sometimes have a significant impact on town centre retailing. While the effects of such proposals on the primary shopping area are unlikely to be significant, even relatively small discount foodstores can have a significant effect on the convenience retailers which underpin the function of district centres and local centres. Evidence will be required from a prospective developer of any disproportionate impact which such an outlet might have on weaker centres.

POLICY SH16
The primary shopping area and district centre are the preferred locations for new convenience retail floorspace. Proposals for new convenience retail development outside of these centres will not be permitted unless:
i) the applicant can demonstrate that there is a need for the type of development proposed, which would not undermine the stated strategy and retail policies of the local planning authority;
ii) the applicant can demonstrate that the proposal could not be accommodated within the primary shopping area or district centre or, as a second preference, on the edge of the primary shopping area;
iii) the applicant can demonstrate that the cumulative impact of the proposed development, together with other committed and proposed developments, do not adversely affect the vitality and viability of the town, district centre and local centres or have a negative impact on the Council’s strategy to sustain and enhance these centres;
iv) the site is conveniently accessible by a choice of means of transport other than the motor car including public transport, cycle and by foot;
v) the proposal is in close proximity to the main road network and the means of accessing the site meet the requirements of the highway authority;
vi) sufficient parking and servicing facilities are proposed to cater for the retail uses on the site taking into account the extra length of stay created by those undertaking linked trips.
In relation to edge of centre proposals 200-300 metres should be taken as a guide to the distance shoppers are likely to be prepared to walk between the primary shopping area and new retail development.

7.50 The Borough Council recognises that smaller foodstore proposals serve an important local need and can perform a complementary role to the primary shopping area and district centres without eroding their vitality and viability. Policies SH6 and SH7 safeguard and strengthen such provision. However, convenience retailing often underpins district and local centres and the impact of stand alone foodstores and discount stores, in particular, on this element of Bedford’s retail hierarchy will be carefully examined.

POLICY SH17
Proposals for new convenience retail development in existing residential areas will only be permitted where:
i) the applicant can demonstrate a need for the type of development proposed;
ii) the vitality and viability of existing centres will not be adversely affected either individually or cumulatively with other recent or proposed developments;
iii) the site is conveniently accessible by means of transport other than the motor car including public transport, cycle and by foot; and
iv) the proposal can provide operational parking and servicing facilities to meet the requirements of the highway authority.

ENVIRONMENTAL CONSIDERATIONS RESTAURANTS AND TAKE-AWAYS

7.52 The Borough Council is anxious to avoid any over concentration of unneighbourly facilities such as restaurants and hot food takeaways, especially close to residential areas. In order to maintain residential amenity, it may be necessary to restrict opening times of takeaways and restaurants. For the same reason the Council will expect details of extraction systems to be available at the application stage. The availability of on site or nearby car parking may also be a consideration especially in parts of the town centre where parking is restricted.

POLICY SH19
Planning permission for restaurants and hot food takeaways will only be permitted in village and local centres (see paragraph 7.17) and town centre areas where:
i) there would be no material disturbance to nearby residents through noise, smell, traffic noise and/or congestion or other side effects resulting from the proposed operation;
ii) the local environmental quality will not be adversely affected by the proposed operation or an existing environmental problem will not be exacerbated by the proposed operation; and
iii) in the town centre, the proposed use is not at ground floor level in the primary shopping frontage.

LOCATION OF AMUSEMENT ARCADES

7.53 Similarly amusement centres can greatly affect amenity. Because of this they will not be allowed close to housing, near schools, churches, hospitals and hotels. Such facilities may also be visually intrusive and would therefore, be out of place in a conservation area or other place of architectural or historic character. Conditions limiting opening hours may bring such a proposal within the bounds of acceptability.

POLICY SH20
Proposals for amusement centres will only be permitted where:
i) the proposal is not within the primary shopping frontage area as defined on the Proposals Map; and
ii) it would not result in loss of amenity, especially in terms of its appearance or the amount of noise likely to be generated, for nearby residents or to nearby schools, churches, hospitals or hotels.

7.54 It should be noted by those wishing to provide amusement facilities that a permit is also required from the local authority under the Gaming Act 1968 before they can operate. This is not connected to the granting of planning permission and must be obtained separately.

< Previous Chapter | Top of page | Next Chapter >