Skip to main content

Newark & Sherwood Local Development Framework Plan Review - Preferred Approach Town Centre & Retail

Core Policy 8 'Retail & Town Centres'

2.2 Core Policy 8, within the Core Strategy, provides the strategic policy setting the framework for the more detailed Town Centre and retail policies, and those area policies which seek to deliver objectives relevant to these topics. A range of amendments (shown in underlined text) are proposed to Core Policy 8 with the intention of bringing the policy into line with current national policy and guidance, and implementing the recommendations of the TC&RS.

2.3 Most significantly the proposed amendments include the redefinition of Rainworth to a 'Local Centre'. This reflects the findings of the TC&RS which shows the centre to be mainly meeting the day-to-day convenience and service needs of its local catchment population. With the majority of people visiting the convenience provision not necessarily linking their trips with other shops and services due to the limited offer.

2.4 The wording covering the sequential approach has been amended to bring it up-to-date with existing national policy. At present Core Policy 8 defers to national policy to determine the scale of retail development requiring a retail impact assessment. Whilst the Study concludes that the District's centres are largely vital and viable, they are nevertheless vulnerable to increased competition from out-of-centre retailing and the growth of internet shopping. In addition there has been dynamic growth in the smaller convenience stores operated by the major grocers. Where proposed on the edge or outside of smaller local and village centres they can result in a significant adverse impact on their trading performance and overall vitality and viability. With respect to comparison retail, given the requirements of modern retailers to carry a range of goods there is a minimum scale of floorspace that will provide them with the necessary sales densities, and the ability to attract customers from a wider catchment area. Accordingly there is a floorspace cut-off beyond which a certain scale of comparison store is unlikely to trade as a purely local facility.

2.5 On this basis the TC&RS recommends the introduction of a local impact threshold to provide sufficient flexibility to assess the merits and implications of edge and out-of-centre retail applications (including change of use and proposed variations of conditions as appropriate) that could potentially have significant implications for the viability, and delivery of new or extended floorspace within centres.

2.6 Notwithstanding this proposed local threshold, the scope of any Retail Impact Assessment would be discussed and agreed between the applicants at an early stage in the pre-application / application process. The level of detail required will be proportionate to the scale and type of floorspace proposed, and agreed on a case-by-case basis. In applying this approach the District Council will exercise pragmatism.

2.7 Sutton-on-Trent (ST/MU/1) has now been incorporated into the list of new centres for which support is provided, in principal, reflecting the range of uses that the site allocation policy seeks to provide for. Following the outcomes of the centre health checks within the TC&RS a number of the area policies (NAP1 'Newark Urban Area, SoAP1 'Role and Setting of Southwell' and ShAP 2 'Role of Ollerton & Boughton') within the Core Strategy are proposed for amendment to seek to support the continued viability and vitality of specific centres. Core Policy 8 is proposed for amendment to now include appropriate cross-referencing.