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SH10  Design and Location of Out-of-Centre and Edge-of-Centre Retail Development  Policy

A proposal for out-of-centre and edge-of-centre retail development considered acceptable in terms of Policy SH9 will be permitted if it satisfies the additional following criteria:

(i) the proposal is not located within the Green Belt;

(ii) the proposal does not prejudice the Borough's requirement for housing, or industrial land and premises;

(iii) the proposal does not generate traffic in excess of that which can be accommodated by the existing or proposed highway network;

(iv) adequate provision has been made for highway access and servicing arrangements, and off-street car and cycle parking;

(v) the siting, scale, design, choice of materials and landscaping is appropriate to the character of the surrounding area;

(vi) the proposal does not cause nuisance to neighbouring uses, especially in respect of noise and disturbance.

Planning conditions may be imposed to restrict the type of goods sold in order to prevent future changes in the composition of out-of-centre or edge-of-centre retail development which might impact on the vitality and viability of a Key Town Centre or Traditional Suburban Centre.

Reasoned justification :

This justification applies to policies SH9 and SH10.

16.41 The Council recognises that retailers needs cannot always be accommodated within existing centres. However, new out-of-centre development still needs careful consideration to ensure that the role of existing centres is not seriously undermined.

16.42 While Government guidance makes it clear that competition between individual retailers is not a planning consideration, it is important that a proposal does not have a detrimental impact on the vitality or viability of Key Town or Traditional Suburban Centres as a whole, either within or outside Wirral. In assessing vitality and viability, the Local Planning Authority will have particular regard to: the trade draw and market share of the proposal; the impact on future levels of investment, on vacancy levels and the physical condition of the centre(s), impact on the range of services provided in the centre(s), on any current or proposed urban regeneration initiatives in the centre(s); and the cumulative impact of the proposal with other recent or proposed retail development. Where necessary, the Local Planning Authority will impose conditions restricting the range of goods sold.

16.43 While national planning policy guidance on retailing advises that an assessment of retail impact will be required for major retail development - defined as that greater than 20,000 square metres (gross) on an out-of-town site and greater than 10,000 square metres on an urban site which has not been previously intensively developed - local experience suggests that much smaller developments can have a significant impact on local centres, especially where trading patterns are not robust. The Local Planning Authority will request a statement of retail impact from the applicant where it considers that this would be of assistance in considering the effect of an out-of-centre proposal on the vitality and viability of a nearby Key Town Centre or Traditional Suburban Centre as a whole, including town centres in areas adjoining Wirral. Neighbouring local authorities will be consulted where there may be an impact on such centres.

16.44 Urban regeneration is a key theme throughout the UDP. The Local Planning Authority will need to be satisfied that any trade diversion away from a centre does not undermine any current or proposed retail-related urban regeneration initiatives in any of the centres listed, particularly when the investment has yet to feed through into a stronger trading position. In addition, the Local Planning Authority will have regard to the extent that urban regeneration potential could be maximised through alternative uses for the site in question, or by utilising an alternative site capable of accommodating the same development.

16.45 Similarly, the Local Planning Authority is keen to secure the maximum environmental benefit from new development. Hence, it will have regard to the extent that a proposed development would achieve this when compared to alternative uses or locations. In this respect, issues such as reducing the number of derelict or degraded sites and a reduction in exhaust emissions through fewer and shorter car journeys will be considered.

16.46 Policy SH10 also recognises the importance of protecting land required for housing and industrial purposes.