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8 SHOPS AND OFFICES

Shop

Introduction

8.1 This Chapter deals largely with shops (Class A1), financial and professional services (Class A2) and food and drink (Class A3) as described in the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987. Although some provisions are made for offices (Class B1) main policies and considerations for Class B1 uses are contained in Chapter 4 "Industry and Employment".

8.2 In its sub-regional setting Melton Borough lies between the major city shopping centres of Leicester and Nottingham and the smaller towns of Loughborough and Grantham. Each of these towns has an effect on the shopping trips of Melton's population.

8.3 Melton Borough is largely rural in character with many small villages dispersed around the market town of Melton Mowbray. Some villages have individual shops or post offices to serve local community needs. The shopping catchment area of Melton Mowbray extends some 6-8 miles around the town and contains a population of about 42,000 persons which compares well with the actual Borough population of 45,000.

8.4 Melton Mowbray has a number of major food stores and a variety of small high street shops which serve the town and the main part of the Borough for convenience goods such as food and drink and other consumer products needed on a daily or weekly basis. The town also offers a limited range of shops selling comparison goods, eg. clothes, furniture, and electrical equipment. In choosing comparison goods, customers usually require a good range of shops before making a choice and therefore the city centres in Leicester and Nottingham also attract shoppers from Melton for such purchases.

Policy Background

8.5 Government advice on retailing is contained in Planning Policy Guidance Note No 6 "Town Centres and Retail Development". The Policy objectives set out in the Guidance Note are as follows:-

  1. to sustain or enhance the vitality and viability of town centres which serve the whole community;
  2. to ensure the availability of a wide range of shopping opportunities to which people have easy access;
  3. to maintain an efficient and innovative retail sector;
  4. to locate retail facilities where the need to travel is minimised and where transport choice is available.

8.6 The Guidance Note emphasises that the retail function should continue to underpin shopping centres and takes the view that the vitality and viability of a centre stems from the range and quality of other activities and their accessibility to people living and working in the area. The Guidance Note suggests that local planning authorities should encourage diversification of uses for both day and evening activities, thereby making centres more attractive to local residents, shoppers and visitors.

8.7 The adopted Leicestershire Structure Plan (LSP) supports Leicester City as the sub-regional centre and the existing role of county town centres in providing for local needs. The LSP also acknowledges the need to make provision to sustain and where appropriate increase shopping facilities and services in the smaller county towns including Melton Mowbray.

Aims and Objectives

8.8 The Council is concerned to ensure that Melton Mowbray town centre retains its prime shopping function whilst attracting a variety of complementary uses which will contribute to the commercial viability and attractiveness of the centre. The policies and proposals of the Local Plan are therefore designed to provide a flexible and balanced approach to serve the needs of the community both in the urban and rural areas.

8.9 The Council will pursue the following aims and objectives through the policies and proposals of the Local Plan in order to maintain existing shopping facilities and where appropriate increase provision for the benefit of both rural and urban populations:-

  1. sustain and increase the vitality and viability of Melton Mowbray as the main shopping centre in the Plan area;
  2. improve the Melton Mowbray town centre environment for shoppers and pedestrians;
  3. encourage small scale shopping facilities in villages and residential neighbourhoods.

Town Centre Management

8.10 The Council in partnership with the local Chamber of Trade and other interested organisations has established the Melton Mowbray Town Forum to discuss and implement a wide range of initiatives to improve trade in the Melton Mowbray town centre.

8.11 The Council will encourage and promote the provision of facilities, services and environmental measures which will enhance and improve the appearance, vitality and viability of the Melton Mowbray town centre.

Existing retail floorspace and future needs

8.12 The Melton Mowbray shopping centre is comprised largely of small traditional shops which focus on the Market Place and radial roads into the town centre. During the 1980's three large convenience stores were developed in Melton Mowbray at Scalford Road (Co-op) 1,858 sq. metres net, Thorpe End (Safeway) 2,322 sq. metres net, and Thorpe Road (Tesco) 1,858 sq. metres net.

8.13 A retail development at the former Sharmans garage in Melton Mowbray was completed in 1993. This has provided a further 1,393 sq metres net convenience floorspace and is occupied by Kwiksave and Iceland stores. A large DIY store (Do it All) comprising 2,322 sq. metres net floorspace was built at a site on Leicester Road in 1988.

8.14 At June 1993 there was an estimated 10,621 sq metres net convenience floorspace and 20,847 sq. metres net comparison goods floorspace in the Melton Mowbray town centre. The population of the shopping catchment area is expected to increase to some 48,000 by 2006.

Convenience Floorspace

8.15 In 1985 the Council estimated a requirement for some 2,700 sq metres net of additional floorspace to meet the needs of the catchment area to 1996. Since then the development of the Tesco, Safeway and Kwiksave/Iceland stores have together provided more than double this floorspace.

8.16 The Council considers that there is unlikely to be a need for further large scale convenience floorspace during the Plan period. However, the convenience floorspace needs of the community will be monitored and reconsidered when the Local Plan is reviewed.

Comparison Floorspace

8.17 Comparison floorspace needs are influenced by several variables. The amount of floorspace in a centre does not in itself guarantee a comprehensive range of goods which meet the needs of the local population. Major retailers of comparison goods eg. clothing, furniture and household items require a large catchment area population and therefore prefer to locate in the large city centres.

8.18 The national growth in comparison goods stores over the past decade has been largely confined to bulk item retailers and DIY stores which require extensive floorspace and parking provision. These buildings are generally unsuitable for small town centres, particularly towns which have historic street patterns and attractive shopping environments such as Melton Mowbray. The city centres of Nottingham and Leicester are expected to continue to attract comparison goods shoppers from the Borough.

Policies and Proposals

8.19 There are two vacant sites within the Melton Mowbray town centre which could accommodate relatively large retail stores at Town Station and Thorpe End. The Council will continue to encourage the development of these sites in preference to any edge of town centre site or elsewhere in the town envelope. The development of the sites could provide a significant increase in shopping provision and development briefs have been approved by the Council to give supplementary planning guidance for their development. In addition redevelopment and infill opportunities exist within the confines of the town centre to satisfy small scale demands which might arise during the Plan period.

8.20 The site at Town Station is about 1.6 hectares (3.9 acres) in area and could accommodate some 2,600 sq. metres gross floorspace and parking for 250 cars. The Council will consider the development of the site for other uses which would contribute to the vitality and viability of the town centre. The site at Thorpe End is partly within the Melton Mowbray Conservation Area and has now largely been developed as a fast-food restaurant. The following policy will apply to these sites:-

S1

PLANNING PERMISSION WILL BE GRANTED FOR RETAIL OR OTHER COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENT WHICH WOULD CONTRIBUTE TO THE VITALITY AND VIABILITY OF THE TOWN CENTRE ON THE SITES SHOWN ON THE PROPOSALS MAP (MELTON MOWBRAY TOWN CENTRE INSET) AT TOWN STATION AND THORPE END PROVIDED:-

A) THE SIZE, SCALE, DESIGN AND APPEARANCE OF ANY BUILDINGS ARE IN KEEPING WITH THE CHARACTER OF THE LOCALITY;

B) SATISFACTORY VEHICULAR AND PEDESTRIAN ACCESS IS PROVIDED;

C) SERVICING AND CAR PARKING FOR CUSTOMERS AND STAFF IS PROVIDED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE COUNCIL'S ADOPTED STANDARDS;

D) THERE WOULD BE NO ADVERSE EFFECTS ON ADJOINING USES;

E) A SATISFACTORY LANDSCAPING SCHEME IS SUBMITTED.


Out of Town Centre Stores

8.21 Nationally there has been an increase in out of town shopping centres and large free standing convenience stores which in some instances have had an adverse effect on nearby town centre shopping areas. Planning Policy Guidance Note No 6 "Town Centres and Retail Development" advises local planning authorities to secure a balance between the need to sustain the vitality and viability of a town centre and the needs of the community as best met through an out of town development.

8.22 Planning Policy Guidance Note No 13 "Transport", recognises the problems that future traffic growth is likely to have on the environment, especially urban areas, and the importance of reducing the need to travel by private car. Local planning authorities are encouraged to include policies in development plans which aim to promote development in urban areas at locations accessible by alternative means of transport. In line with national trends, car borne shopping has increased significantly in Melton Mowbray over the past ten years.

8.23 It is important that new retail floorspace is not developed at the expense of town centre viability, accessibility for all groups of the population or loss of land allocated for other purposes

8.24 The Council will endeavour to achieve the development of the town centre sites in Policy S1 as a priority. It is however recognised that some retail developments such as DIY, building materials, motor car showrooms, caravan sales and horticultural machinery may be better suited to edge of town centre or service / industrial areas where good access and parking provision can be made available. Where planning permission is granted in such cases, the Council will be concerned to ensure that any permission for retail development does not lead to a change of use under permitted development rights to a use which could adversely affect the vitality or viability of the Melton Mowbray town centre. The following policy will apply:-

S2

PLANNING PERMISSION WILL ONLY BE GRANTED FOR RETAIL DEVELOPMENT WITHIN THE MELTON MOWBRAY TOWN ENVELOPE PROVIDED:-

A) THE DEVELOPMENT WOULD NOT IN ITSELF OR WITH OTHER RETAIL COMMITMENTS, SERIOUSLY AFFECT THE VITALITY AND VIABILITY OF THE MELTON MOWBRAY SHOPPING CENTRE;

B) THERE WOULD BE NO SHORTAGE OF LAND ALLOCATED FOR OTHER USES;

C) ACCESS BY PUBLIC AND PRIVATE TRANSPORT CAN BE MADE AVAILABLE;

D) THERE WOULD BE NO UNACCEPTABLE TRAFFIC FLOWS IN THE LOCALITY;

E) ADEQUATE SERVICING AND CAR PARKING FOR CUSTOMERS AND STAFF IS PROVIDED;

F) THERE WOULD BE NO ADVERSE EFFECTS ON ADJOINING LAND USES;

G) THE SIZE, SCALE, DESIGN AND APPEARANCE OF ANY BUILDINGS ARE IN KEEPING WITH THE CHARACTER OF THE LOCALITY;

H) A SATISFACTORY LANDSCAPING SCHEME IS SUBMITTED.

IF PLANNING PERMISSION IS GRANTED FOR RETAIL FLOORSPACE OUTSIDE THE TOWN CENTRE, CONDITIONS MAY BE IMPOSED WHERE NECESSARY TO ENSURE THAT THE DEVELOPMENT DOES NOT CHANGE ITS CHARACTER SUBSTANTIALLY TO A FORM WHICH WOULD ADVERSELY AFFECT THE VITALITY AND VIABILITY OF THE TOWN CENTRE. SUCH CONDITIONS MAY RESTRICT THE RANGE OF GOODS SOLD AND MAY ALSO IMPOSE APPROPRIATE MINIMUM FLOORSPACE REQUIREMENTS IN THE LIGHT OF SUBDIVISION.


Primary Shopping Frontages

8.25 The attractiveness, convenience and viability of a shopping centre can be adversely affected by the loss of retail uses along primary shopping frontages to non retail uses. The shopping function of the Melton Mowbray town centre is its prime activity and is vital in securing its viability and convenience for the benefit of the community. The Market Place and its immediate surroundings is the hub of Melton Mowbray's shopping area and a focal point for pedestrians, particularly on market days. Cheapside/South Parade, Sherrard Street and Nottingham Street radiate from the Market Place and their frontages close to the Market Place also offer prime shopping facilities.

8.26 In 1994 the Council pedestrianised Nottingham Street and High Street and these improvements together with the recently completed major public car park at St. Mary's Way have created a more convenient and attractive environment for further retail investment. The character and vitality of the shopping centre depends very much on the retention of the Market Place and its environs in its primary retail role. The following policy will therefore apply :-

S3

PLANNING PERMISSION WILL ONLY BE GRANTED FOR THE USE OF GROUND FLOOR AREAS OF BUILDINGS ALONG THE PRIMARY SHOPPING FRONTAGE SHOWN ON THE PROPOSALS MAP (MELTON MOWBRAY TOWN CENTRE INSET) FOR CLASS A1 (SHOPS), CLASS A2 (FINANCIAL AND PROFESSIONAL SERVICES) AND CLASS A3 (SALE OF FOOD AND DRINK) IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE TOWN AND COUNTRY PLANNING (USE CLASSES) ORDER 1987, PROVIDED:-

A) THE TOTAL PROPORTION OF A2 AND A3 USES DOES NOT EXCEED 12% OF THE WHOLE PRIMARY FRONTAGE;

B) ANY CONTINUOUS FRONTAGE OF NON-A1 USE DOES NOT EXCEED 3 SHOP UNITS OR 15 METRES IN LENGTH.


Secondary Shopping Frontages

8.27 Leisure facilities, restaurants, entertainment venues, banks and other over the counter services also play a part in attracting people to the town centre and therefore contribute to its vitality and viability. It is important that these uses are subordinate to the retail function and are located in parts of the town centre which would not weaken the shopping function. Changes to the shopping pattern over recent years through the opening of large supermarkets has led to a decline in the variety and number of small shops which traditionally sell foodstuffs and daily provisions and consequently some shop units in the town centre have become vacant on a long term basis.

8.28 Planning Policy Guidance Note No 6 advises local planning authorities to take a flexible approach to the use of town centre retail premises so long as the retail function is not seriously undermined. Beyond the Market Place and its environs other town centre streets have frontages which include a variety of uses and are more dependent on a mixture of retail and other services for their vitality and commercial attractiveness.

8.29 A mix of shops, restaurants and professional services already occupy positions in these streets which include the main part of Nottingham Street, Leicester Street, Burton Street, Windsor Street and that part of Sherrard Street, to the east of Windsor Street. The Council intends to encourage a variety of uses along these streets as long as the proportion of non retail uses does not exceed 50% of the frontages shown on the Proposals Map (Melton Mowbray Town Centre Inset). The following policy will therefore apply:-

S4

PLANNING PERMISSION WILL BE GRANTED FOR THE USE OF GROUND FLOOR AREAS OF BUILDINGS ALONG SECONDARY SHOPPING FRONTAGES AS SHOWN ON THE PROPOSALS MAP (MELTON MOWBRAY TOWN CENTRE INSET) FOR THE FOLLOWING USES IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE TOWN AND COUNTRY PLANNING ( USE CLASSES) ORDER 1987 :-

A) SHOPS (CLASS A1);

B) FINANCIAL AND PROFESSIONAL SERVICES (CLASS A2), SALE OF FOOD AND DRINK (CLASS A3), HOTELS (CLASS C1), NON RESIDENTIAL INSTITUTIONS (CLASS D1) AND ASSEMBLY AND LEISURE (CLASS D2) PROVIDED:-

1 THE TOTAL PROPORTION OF NON-RETAIL FRONTAGE INCLUDING EXISTING, COMMITTED AND PROPOSED,

WOULD NOT EXCEED 50% OF ANY LENGTH OF STREET FRONTAGE SHOWN ON THE PROPOSALS MAP AND;

2. A CONTINUOUS LENGTH OF NON-RETAIL FRONTAGE EXCEEDING THREE SHOP UNITS OR 15 METRES WOULD NOT BE CREATED.

8.30 For the purposes of Policy S4 the lengths of secondary shopping frontages are shown on the Proposals Map (Melton Mowbray Town Centre Inset) and marked between the letters AA-KK.

Accommodation above Ground Floor

8.31 Many of the buildings in the town centre shopping area are 3 and 4 storey in height. The Council is aware that a significant proportion of floorspace above ground floor is under-utilised or vacant. This accommodation has potential for a variety of uses particularly for residential use. In this context the Council is involved with the DOE "Flats over Shops" scheme. In order to encourage full potential of these buildings the Council is prepared to grant planning permission for a variety of commercial and residential uses subject to satisfactory car parking provision. The adopted car parking standards of the Council are contained in Appendix 4 The following policy will therefore apply:-

S5

PLANNING PERMISSION WILL BE GRANTED FOR THE USE OF FLOORSPACE ABOVE GROUND LEVEL OF BUILDINGS ALONG THE PRIMARY AND SECONDARY SHOPPING FRONTAGES SHOWN ON THE PROPOSALS MAP (MELTON MOWBRAY TOWN CENTRE INSET) FOR THE FOLLOWING USES IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE TOWN AND COUNTRY PLANNING (USE CLASSES) ORDER 1987 PROVIDED PARKING PROVISION IS MADE IN ACCORDANCE WITH POLICY T2:-

SHOPS (CLASS A1), FINANCIAL AND PROFESSIONAL SERVICES (CLASS A2), FOOD AND DRINK (CLASS A3), OFFICES (CLASS B1), RESIDENTIAL INSTITUTIONS (CLASS C2), DWELLINGS (CLASS C3),NON RESIDENTIAL INSTITUTIONS (CLASS D1) AND ASSEMBLY AND LEISURE (CLASS D2).


Village and Neighbourhood Centres

8.32 It is important that rural communities and residential areas distant from the town centre have the benefit of local shops and post offices to serve local needs. In some instances these services may need to expand and diversify in order to ensure their continued existence. The Council will normally support and encourage proposals for new shops in villages and new large housing estates.

S6

PLANNING PERMISSION WILL BE GRANTED FOR LOCAL SHOPPING FACILITIES WITHIN VILLAGE ENVELOPES PROVIDED THE PROPOSAL COMPLIES WITH THE CRITERIA CONTAINED IN POLICY OS1.

8.33 The extensive residential area between Redwood Avenue and Nottingham Road in Melton Mowbray is served by a limited number of local shops located in the north east sector. Substantial residential areas have been added to the north edge of the town and these new areas do not have the benefit of a local shop within convenient walking distance. The proposed housing area at Scalford Road Farm offers an opportunity to make reasonable shopping provision for the new development and the surrounding area. The Council has prepared a development brief to indicate a preferred location for the shopping facility in accordance with Policy H14.

8.34 With regard to Asfordby and Bottesford the Council intends to concentrate any new retail or commercial development in the existing village centres to make best use of public car parking facilities and access both for pedestrians and users of public transport.

S7

PLANNING PERMISSION FOR LOCAL RETAILING AND COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENT IN THE VILLAGES OF ASFORDBY AND BOTTESFORD WILL BE CONFINED WITHIN THE CENTRAL AREAS OF THESE VILLAGES AS SHOWN ON THE PROPOSALS MAP VILLAGE INSETS.


Tourism

8.35 The Council generally supports the development of appropriate tourism facilities in the Borough which will contribute to the local economy, especially in the rural areas, and therefore will encourage small scale retail activity in association with tourist facilities within villages and the use of appropriate rural buildings in the open countryside subject to the requirements of Policy C6. See also paragraphs 11.54 and 11.55 in Chapter 11 "Recreation and Leisure".

S8

PLANNING PERMISSION WILL BE GRANTED FOR SMALL SCALE RETAIL DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATED WITH RECREATION AND TOURISM USES.


Garden Centres

8.36 Urban locations are rarely appropriate for large garden centres because of the nature of goods sold. Sites close to residential areas may not be appropriate because of the adverse effects of traffic and visitor flows. Urban fringe and rural locations are generally more appropriate, but isolated developments in open countryside can cause visual intrusion and in considering any permission the Council will be concerned to ensure that a development can be adequately landscaped and that traffic problems would not arise. Areas between settlements where coalescence could occur are not appropriate for garden centres. The following policy will therefore apply :-

S9

PLANNING PERMISSION WILL ONLY BE GRANTED FOR GARDEN CENTRES OUTSIDE THE TOWN AND VILLAGE ENVELOPES SHOWN ON THE PROPOSALS MAP PROVIDED:-

A) THERE WOULD BE NO ADVERSE EFFECTS ON THE APPEARANCE OR CHARACTER OF THE LOCALITY;

B) THERE WOULD BE NO UNACCEPTABLE VEHICULAR TRAFFIC FLOWS ALONG MINOR ROADS;

C) THERE WOULD BE NO ADVERSE EFFECTS ON RESIDENTIAL AMENITIES;

D) THE SIZE, SCALE, DESIGN AND APPEARANCE OF ANY BUILDINGS ARE IN KEEPING WITH THE LOCALITY;

E) SATISFACTORY ACCESS AND PARKING IS PROVIDED.


Farm shops

8.37 Farm shops can serve a vital function in the rural area by helping to meet demand for fresh produce and providing new sources of jobs and services, so contributing to the diversity of economic activity in rural areas.

8.38 Some shops on farms may not need planning permission. A farmer may sell his own unprocessed produce from an existing building on the farm without the need for planning permission. However, he will need planning permission for a new building from which to sell his own produce and permission is also required if a farm shop is to sell a significant amount of produce from elsewhere.

8.39 When planning applications are required, the Borough Council will take account of the desirability of the farmer to provide a service throughout the year, the potential impact on nearby village shops and the effects of traffic.

S10

THE INTRODUCTION OF RETAIL USE ON A FARM WILL ONLY BE PERMITTED IF:

A) THE SCALE OF NON-LOCAL PRODUCE TO BE SOLD IS NECESSARY FOR THE FARMER TO PROVIDE A SERVICE THROUGHOUT THE YEAR;

B) THE SCALE AND SCOPE OF THE RETAILING PROPOSED WILL NOT HARM THE VIABILITY OF RETAIL FACILITIES IN ANY NEARBY TOWN OR VILLAGE;

C) THE SCALE AND NATURE OF THE ACCOMMODATION PROPOSED AND THE SIZE, DESIGN, MATERIALS AND SITING OF ANY NEW BUILDING OR EXTENSION ARE COMPATIBLE WITH THE EXISTING BUILDINGS ON THE FARMSTEAD;

D) THE PROPOSAL DOES NOT HARM THE RURAL CHARACTER OF THE LANDSCAPE AND THE AMENITIES OF THE LOCALITY;

E) THE LOCAL ROAD NETWORK CAN HANDLE SAFELY THE EXTRA TRAFFIC THE PROPOSAL WILL GENERATE;

F) THE ROAD ACCESS AND EXIT AT THE SITE WILL BE SAFE;

G) THE SCALE, LAYOUT AND SITING OF CAR PARKING WILL COMPLEMENT THE PROPOSED SCALE AND SITING OF THE RETAIL ACCOMMODATION.

ANY PLANNING PERMISSION FOR SUCH A USE MAY LIMIT THE RANGE OR SOURCE OF THE GOODS TO BE SOLD, OR BOTH.


OFFICES

Introduction

8.40 Financial and professional services (Class A2) such as banks, building societies, accountants and estate agents are business uses which generally seek a town centre location. These uses tend to offer a personal service to customers and bring employment opportunities to town centres and generate customer visits which may encourage retail purchases. Within Melton Mowbray town centre there are some 13,935sq metres of office floorspace, much of which is at first floor level or above.

8.41 These uses should not be confused with Offices (Class B1), which can be larger in scale and are usually places of administration which are not accessible to the general public. Sometimes a business can involve both types of office use within the same building and difficulties can arise in determining the principal use.

Policy Background

8.42 Government advice contained in the Planning Policy Guidance Note No 6 "Town Centres and Retail Development", makes clear that the vitality and viability of town centres depends not just on retail uses but the range and quality of other activities which take place in the town centre. Different but complementary uses are perceived to make town centres more attractive to local residents, shoppers and visitors.

Aims and Objectives

8.43 The Local Plan has the following objectives:-

  1. to encourage business and commercial activities in those parts of the town centre which are compatible with the shopping function;
  2. to encourage the commercial use of first floor accommodation and above in the town centre.

Policies and Proposals

8.44 A proliferation of non-retail uses along primary shopping frontages can reduce the attractiveness and convenience of a shopping centre. Policy S3 therefore presumes against non-retail uses in the most important shopping frontages in Melton Mowbray. Policy S4 however allows for a proportion of not more than 50% of non-retail uses along secondary shopping frontages, thereby allowing for a reasonable mix of uses in the greater part of the town centre shopping area.

8.45 Certain parts within and on the edge of the town centre have become established office/commercial areas and these uses are compatible with local surroundings. High Street has a concentration of banks and building societies and these uses have created a small business and service environment compatible with the historic building character in this part of the town centre. A concentration of professional office services has also developed at the north west edge of the town centre at the junction of Asfordby Road, Nottingham Road and Norman Way.

8.46 Office uses also utilise accommodation at first floor level and above and help to ensure that buildings, especially listed buildings are maintained and used in an economic way. The Council wishes to encourage further use of upper floors in the town centre. Policy S5 is designed to encourage commercial uses, including offices, to occupy accommodation at first floor or above in the town centre subject to acceptable car parking.

8.47 The adopted car parking standards of the Council are contained in Appendix 4.

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