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Chapter 6 Town Centre & Retailing

Introduction

6.1 The Joint Structure Plan identifies the town centres of Clay Cross, Dronfield, Eckington and Killamarsh as major retail centres. The Council will continue to promote opportunities for redevelopment and new development within these centres in order to maintain and promote their vitality and viability in the face of competition from the nearby larger centres of Sheffield and Chesterfield, as well as to promote the principles of sustainable development.

6.2 In developing town centre and retail policies for inclusion in the Local Plan, regard has been given to Government Planning Policy Statement 6, to the Regional Spatial Strategy (RSS8) and to the adopted Derby and Derbyshire Joint Structure Plan.

National Guidance

6.3 Planning Policy Statement 6: Planning for Town Centres (PPS6) (2005) sets out the Government’s national policies and principles on planning in town centres. The Government’s key objective for town centres is to promote their vitality and viability by focussing a range of new developments in such centres, and in this respect promotes the sequential approach, which must be applied in selecting sites for new retail, leisure and entertainment, commercial and cultural developments. This means that the first preference is for town centre sites, followed by edge of centre sites that are well connected to the town centre and only then on out of centre sites in locations that are or will be well served by a choice of modes of transport. It states that local planning authorities should actively promote growth and manage town centres and also identify opportunities for developments in town centres. It goes on to state that local planning authorities must follow the following process in selecting sites for development in town centres. They should:

a) assess the need for the development (placing greater emphasis on quantitative rather than qualitative need);

b) identify the appropriate scale of development;

c) apply the sequential approach to site selection;

d) assess the impact of the development on existing centres; and

e) ensure that locations are accessible and well served by a choice of means of transport.

The statement also promotes high quality urban design in town centres which helps to provide a sense of place and focus for the community which is accessible and safe.

Regional Spatial Strategy

6.4 The Regional Spatial Strategy for the East Midlands (RSS8) was adopted in March 2005. It reinforces national guidance in PPS6 and refers to the Regional Town Centres Study (2003). It identifies a requirement to promote the vitality and viability of existing town centres on a sub-area basis. It asserts that, where town centres are under performing, action should be taken to promote investment through design led initiatives and the development and implementation of town centre strategies.

Derby and Derbyshire Joint Structure Plan (January 2001)

6.5 The Derby and Derbyshire Joint Structure Plan reinforces national and regional policy guidance relating to town centres and shopping development. It identifies the towns of Clay Cross, Dronfield, Eckington and Killamarsh as centres where new retail development should be concentrated.

6.6 The size of these centres is modest compared to the regional and sub-regional centres of neighbouring South Yorkshire and Chesterfield. The influence of these nearby centres on retailing provision and the demand for retailing within the Plan area is considerable. In recent years the opening of Crystal Peaks and Meadowhall Centres in South Yorkshire, together with large superstores in and around Chesterfield, all readily accessible from the Plan area, has further underlined this influence.

6.7 Town Centre and Shopping Policy 1 of the Structure Plan proposes that existing major centres will be maintained and enhanced by further improvements to retail facilities, car parking, accessibility, including improvements for disabled people, and the environment. Within this District, the four main centres of Clay Cross, Dronfield, Eckington and Killamarsh are identified in this policy.

6.8 These centres not only remain the natural focus for shopping facilities but also support a number of other functions including banks, libraries and other civic services. They are served by public transport providing access to shopping for all sections of the community. Over the years much public and private investment has been channelled into establishing these centres. The Council will seek to direct new retail and other development considered appropriate to a town centre, including commercial and leisure uses, to these locations and to ensure that the vitality and viability of these centres is maintained and, wherever possible, enhanced.

Development in Town Centres

6.9 The main retailing and commercial areas of Clay Cross, Dronfield, Eckington and Killamarsh are defined on the Proposals Map.

Clay Cross

6.10 Planning permission has been granted for the Clay Cross Town Centre Redevelopment Scheme on Bridge Street/Market Street, as shown on the Proposals Map. This should address the current shortage of retail space in the town. The scheme includes provision for:

a) 7687 square metres of retail floorspace, comprising a 5364 square metres major convenience food store and 6 individual retail units of 2323 square metres. The focus of the new retail development will be towards the Market Street junction, to maintain Market Street as the retail centre;

b) formation of a 594 space car park to serve all of the new retail/commercial developments and a bus terminus;

c) a shop mobility unit and petrol filling station; and

d) the construction of a new highway link from Bridge Street to the A61 and associated highway improvements. (See Policy T1).

6.11 A high quality development has been sought to provide an attractive new town centre to act as a service centre for the surrounding area. Landscaping and open spaces will be incorporated in the design along with an improved environment for pedestrians and cyclists. The development will provide an important new focus to the town centre, helping to retain local shopping expenditure and to attract new customers to Clay Cross.

6.12 The Council will seek to achieve environmental improvements through the Town Centre Redevelopment by implementing its own schemes and by encouraging other landowners to make improvements.

SH1 Clay Cross Town Centre Redevelopment

Land off Market Street, Clay Cross, as shown on the Proposals Map, is identified as a potential mixed use development opportunity to provide retailing and commercial uses.


Dronfield

6.13 The Civic Centre is the major focal point of the shopping and commercial centre of Dronfield, providing the focus of bus journeys and a wide range of facilities, including shops, the sports centre, library, Area Housing Office, surgery, pubs and restaurants, as shown on the Proposals Map. A secondary, yet important, shopping and commercial area is centred on Chesterfield Road.

6.14 Further opportunities for retail development are limited because of the built-up nature of the historic core of Dronfield, Conservation Area considerations and limited additional car parking potential.

6.15 The Dronfield weekly market offers an additional facility to the commercial centre and is popular with the majority of residents. The popularity of the market generates additional vehicles and pedestrians within the town centre. It is important to balance the appeal of the market with the wider consequences of increased demand for on-street and off-street parking and the disturbance to other town centre and adjoining residential uses.

6.16 The new foodstore off Wreakes Lane has addressed the identified need for food retail floorspace in Dronfield. Further proposals for retail development would need to be considered in light of a proven need at that time.

Eckington

6.17 The main retail and commercial area of Eckington lies between Pinfold Street in the north, Gosber Road to the south and Gosber Street in the west as indicated on the Proposals Map. It is centred on Market Street and the junction of Station Road and Southgate. Any further development in this area should have regard to the existing retail centre and should make every effort to form an integral part of it.

6.18 A health check of the town centre, using the indicators set out in PPS6, has indicated general economic decline, resulting from industrial closures and competition from nearby out of town retail centres in South Yorkshire. Measures are already in place to address concerns over the vitality and viability of the town centre, such as the Eckington Regeneration Scheme.

6.19 Additional retail development may be required within the town centre to help reverse the economic decline. However, a detailed study will have to be undertaken in order to determine more precisely the need and capacity for additional retail development.

6.20 The Council will strive to see the implementation of further traffic calming and regulation measures including traffic restrictions, differential surfacing along Market Street, and improved signage as part of on-going town centre improvements.

Killamarsh

6.21 The shopping and commercial centre of Killamarsh is based around the Parkside Shopping Centre to the south of Sheffield Road, between Bridge Street and Stanley Street, as shown on the Proposals Map. In an effort to improve the vitality and viability of the town centre, an environmental improvement scheme for Parkside Shopping Centre has been completed, and additional work is being undertaken on Bridge Street and Sheffield Road. These from part of a phased programme of improvements to the town centre.

6.22 A health check of this town centre, using PPS6 indicators, has indicated evidence of decline, resulting from industrial closures and competition from retail centres in South Yorkshire. Additional retail development may be required within the area described above to help reverse the economic decline. However, a detailed study will have to be undertaken in order to determine, more precisely, the need and capacity for additional retail development. The Killamarsh Regeneration Partnership is in place and has an action plan to address regeneration issues within Killamarsh including the town centre issues.

The Sequential Approach

6.23 In accordance with the sequential approach set out in PPS6, proposals for new retail development will be steered towards the town centres of Clay Cross, Dronfield, Eckington and Killamarsh described above and defined on the Proposals Map. All proposals will be considered in terms of their impact on the vitality and viability of that town centre and neighbouring town centres.

SH2 Retail Development in Town Centres

Within the existing major retail/commercial centres of Clay Cross, Dronfield, Eckington and Killamarsh, as identified and defined on the Proposals Map, planning permission will be granted for retail development within Use Class A1, provided that:

(a) its scale and nature is compatible with the scale and character of the centre;
(b) it can be accessed by both public and private transport; and
(c) it would not lead to an unacceptable increase in the number or length of journeys made by private car.


Range of Uses Within Major Shopping and Commercial Centres

6.24 The vitality and viability of the defined major retail/commercial centres is dependent on a mix of other uses alongside shopping. The availability of community and leisure facilities in particular can help keep the shopping centres alive during the evenings. Similarly restaurants, takeaways and public houses can make an important contribution to the vitality of shopping centres by attracting additional trade at lunch times and evenings.

SH3 Ground Floor Development Within Town Centres

Within the main retail/commercial centres of Clay Cross, Dronfield, Eckington and Killamarsh, defined on the Proposals Map, proposals for the change of use of ground floor retail units currently within Use Class A1 to other appropriate uses within the town centre (A2, A3, A4, A5, C1, C2, D1, D2) will be permitted provided that:

(a) the proposed use, when taken cumulatively with other non-retail uses in the continuous retail frontage does not have an adverse effect upon the vitality and viability of the area as principally a retail location; and

(b) the proposed use does not have an adverse effect upon the general amenity and character of the area.


6.25 The Government’s Living Over The Shop Scheme (LOTS) encourages the re-use of the upper floors of shops within town centres for residential and office use to both revitalise town centres and make the best use of previously developed sites within areas well served by public transport and which are best related to existing development and services. The re-use of these units also offer the potential for providing affordable housing. Recent tax incentives may help to bring many disused units that were previously used for residential purposes, back into use. However, in cases where planning permission is required for a change of use, such schemes will be encouraged through the following policy.

SH4 Upper Floor Development Within Town Centres

Within the main retail/commercial centres of Clay Cross, Dronfield, Eckington and Killamarsh, defined on the Proposals Map, proposals for the change of use of upper floors of retail units currently within Use Class A1 to either residential (C3), office (B1) or financial and professional services (A2) will be permitted provided the proposed use does not have an adverse effect upon the general amenities and character of the area.


Development in Edge of Centre Locations

6.26 In accordance with the sequential approach to the location of retail proposals, development will only be acceptable on the edge of the town centres where it can be demonstrated that there is a need for the development and that the proposals cannot be accommodated within the adjoining town centre. The applicant will be required to demonstrate that a comprehensive search for sites within the town centre has been undertaken. Proposals should be in accordance with the overall strategy of the development plan.

SH5 Retail Development in Edge of Centre Locations

Planning permission will only be granted for new retail development in locations on the edge of the major retail/commercial centres of Clay Cross, Dronfield, Eckington and Killamarsh, provided that:

(a) it is demonstrated that there is a proven need for the development;

(b) it is demonstrated that the development cannot be accommodated within that centre or any other nearby town centre;

(c) the scale and nature of the development does not undermine the vitality and viability of the nearby existing town or local centres;

(d) the development is within easy walking distance of the centre, with acceptable pedestrian and cycle links to that centre, or such links will be provided;

(e) the development is accessible by a choice of means of transport including being capable of being well served by public transport;

(f) the development is acceptable on traffic/highway grounds and adequate parking is provided;

(g) the development does not add to the overall number and length of car trips;

(h) the development will not have an adverse effect on the amenity of neighbouring uses; and

(i) the site is not required for any other use as defined in the Local Plan.


Retail Development in Out of Centre Locations

6.27 In accordance with the sequential approach set out in PPS6, retail proposals will only be acceptable in locations that are clearly separated from a defined town centre if it can be demonstrated that the proposals cannot be accommodated either within or on the edge of the town centre.

6.28 While shopping policies will continue to guide new development towards locations within or immediately adjacent the main shopping centre, there are occasions where out of centre sites provide the only opportunity for development. An out of centre location is one that is clearly separate from a town centre, but not necessarily outside the urban area. There are also certain types of shops potentially capable of being located outside existing centres without adversely affecting them. Such shops may include DIY stores, furniture showrooms, garden centres and other stores selling goods of a bulky nature. This type of development may be acceptable in exceptional circumstances where existing shopping centres cannot accommodate it, where the vitality and viability of these centres would not be seriously threatened by it, where the site is not required for industrial or business use, it does not intrude into the countryside and is acceptable in terms of traffic, parking and potential for service by public transport. As part of the application, the applicant must demonstrate a need for the development and show that there are no other more central sites for the proposed development, either within or on the edge of the identified centre, which could accommodate the development. Proposals should be in accordance with the overall strategy of the development plan.

SH6 Retail Developments in Out of Centre Locations

Planning permission will be granted for new retail development, including stores selling bulky items, in out of centre locations provided that:

(a) it is demonstrated that the development cannot be accommodated firstly within or secondly on the edge of an existing centre;

(b) it is demonstrated that there is a proven need for the development;

(c) the scale and nature of the development, either individually or cumulatively does not undermine the vitality and viability of the nearby town, district or local centre;

(d) the development is easily accessible by a choice of modes of transport, including being capable of being well served by public transport;

(e) the development is not an intrusion into the countryside;

(f) the development is acceptable in terms of traffic generation, and car parking provision is in accordance with parking standards for out of centre locations to ensure that car parking provision is not excessive;

(g) the development does not add to the overall number and length of car trips;

(h) the development will not have an adverse effect on the amenity of neighbouring uses; and

(i) the site is not required for any other use as defined in the Local Plan.


Local Shopping Facilities

6.29 Outside the central areas of Clay Cross, Dronfield, Eckington and Killamarsh, a combination of small shopping complexes and individual shops provide local shopping facilities. Petrol filling stations also often provide valuable local retail facilities. These facilities serve the needs of the immediate community primarily for basic convenience goods, and thereby form an essential part of the overall shopping provision. The retention and expansion of these local facilities can help to reduce the number of car journeys to larger centres, and increase opportunities for making more journeys by foot and cycle.

SH7 Local Shopping Facilities

Proposals for local shops will be permitted provided that:

(a) it is acceptable in terms of traffic generation, car parking provision and access; and

(b) it will not adversely affect residential amenities.


6.30 Local shopping facilities cater for local everyday needs. Pressure for the change of use of these local shops to other uses can threaten their continued existence. These facilities provide an essential service to the local community. Unless shown to be no longer required by the community, their retention will be sought. The loss of public houses will be considered in a similar way, as they raise similar issues.

SH8 Loss of Local Facilities

The change of use or demolition of existing shopping facilities or public houses, which serve the local community, will not be permitted unless:

(a) there are adequate alternative facilities elsewhere within the vicinity of the site; or

(b) it can be demonstrated that there is no demand for such a facility in the area within which it is located.


Food and Drink Establishments

6.31 Proposals for developments within Use Classes A3, A4 and A5 of the Town & Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987 raise specific issues regarding their impact upon the amenity of the environment, particularly within residential areas. The following policy will ensure that care is taken to minimise environmental impact and to protect the amenity of the surrounding area. The Council will seek to impose conditions on any planning permission where necessary to control opening hours, impact of odours, noise and light, in order to protect residential amenity.

SH9 Hot Food Take-aways, Restaurants and Public Houses

Planning permission will be granted for development within Use Classes A3, A4 and A5 provided that:

(a) the scale and appearance of the proposal would be appropriate to the locality; and

(b) the proposal would not adversely affect the amenity of residents in the vicinity of the proposal, as a result of odours, noise, light, traffic movements and servicing arrangements.


Weekly Markets and Car Boot Sales

6.32 Weekly markets and car boot sales are temporary in nature, and can provide an additional, valuable source of income to the local economy. However, they often generate large amounts of traffic, which can be harmful to the character and amenity of the area. Car boot sales often operate in rural areas where particular care will be needed to ensure the protection of the character of the area. The following policy is designed to accommodate such enterprises provided they would not cause undue disturbance to the area.

SH10 Weekly Markets and Car Boot Sales

Planning permission will be granted for weekly markets and car boot sales provided that:

(a) the proposal does not have an adverse effect on the character of the area;

(b) the proposal does not have an adverse effect on the amenity of adjoining residential uses by virtue of traffic and noise; and

(c) the proposal is acceptable in terms of highway and access arrangements.


Farm Shops

6.33 Farm shops can provide a valuable additional source of income to help sustain the farming enterprise. They help meet demand from consumers who want fresh produce at the point of production and can provide jobs and a valuable service in rural areas. They can also provide an alternative use for an under used building and assist in the general diversification of the rural economy. In order to conserve the character of the countryside, and to avoid the possible spread of general retail outlets outside the main centres, controls will be imposed to restrict the size and nature of the operation. Therefore, the range of goods will generally be restricted to those produced on the farm. It is recognised, however, that to provide a service throughout the year may require bringing in non-local produce to overcome problems of seasonality and provide continuity of employment and to ensure that a sufficiently wide selection of produce is available.

SH11 Farm Shops

Planning permission will be granted for the development of farm shops which are linked to farm diversification provided that :

(a) the proposal is well related to existing farm buildings and wherever possible should incorporate their use;

(b) any new buildings are of a scale, design and materials in keeping with the character of the area;

(c) it is well related to the primary transport network and will not generate additional traffic movements of a scale and type likely to cause undue problems and disturbance;

(d) the site can accommodate the necessary car parking, service areas and appropriate landscaped areas without adverse impact on the rural landscape; and

(e) the sale of non-local produce is limited to that needed to overcome the problems of seasonality, and to provide continuity of employment.


Garden Centres

6.34 Whilst horticulturists who wish to sell their own produce from their premises may normally do so without planning permission, garden centres generally involve the retailing of goods and produce, a substantial proportion of which may not be produced on the premises. It is recognised that, owing to the large area of land required and the fact that they often develop from nurseries, garden centres are more likely to be developed in the countryside surrounding settlements. However, for sustainability reasons, they should not be developed in remote rural locations. They may, however, be acceptable in general proximity to some settlements provided they would have good access to a suitable road network and would not have a detrimental effect on the character and amenity of the surrounding area by virtue of display areas, car parks and signage. Under the provisions of Policy GS2, garden centres are unlikely to be permitted in the Green Belt, unless any buildings are small scale and ancillary to the use of the land for the display of plants.

SH12 Garden Centres

Proposals for garden centres will only be permitted where:

(a) the site is well related to main settlements and the main road network;
(b) the effect on the character and amenity of the surrounding area is minimised; and
(c) the range of goods sold is predominantly associated with gardening.

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