Thursday, April 27, 2017

News: Rotherham Tradeworld plans updated

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Developers behind a £5.5m trade counter retail development in Rotherham are bidding to secure planning permission that would enable United Carpets to open an outlet on the former industrial site.

Construction began last year for the Parkgate development where initial 2014 plans were approved to create ten units totalling 45,000 sq ft. Lettings include National Tyres & Autocare (NTS), Al Murad DIY Ltd and Halfords Autocentres. Planning permission was also secured for one unit to open as a gym, operated by the Gym Group.

Now a new planning application has been submitted that would change the use of two B8 trade counter units in order to provide a single 10,441 sq ft bulky goods retail unit (Use Class A1). The new retail unit is set to be occupied by United Carpets.

Bakewell based Litton Property Group purchased the Ruscon engineering works on Rotherham Road in 2003 but plans for a DIY retail store and garden centre were refused in 2005. Outline planning permission was granted in 2006 for a warehouse development with 20% of the floorspace approved for retail use.

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Rotherham-based United Carpets and Beds is the UK's largest franchised flooring and bed retailer and has recently moved its main Rotherham store to the former Staples unit at the Foundry Retail Park nearby.

As the site is not located within a designated town, district or local centre, a sequential test assessment is included in line with national and local planning policies. Sequential tests ensure that development is located in the most sustainable location first (usually in town centres), before other, less sustainable locations are chosen.

The applicants assessed a number of sequentially preferable locations, discounting vacant units in Rotherham town centre as being too small. Forge Island was discounted due to it forming part of the Council's future plans for a new entertainment, leisure and cultural quarter/complex.

When discussing potential projects being developed through the town centre masterplan at Forge Island and the markets, the planning consultants, DPP, acting on behalf of the applicants, add: "Proposals for a change of use of two trade counter units to provide a small bulky goods retail store outside of the town centre will not impact upon potential investment for the redevelopment of these sites."

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If the plans are approved, United Carpets will move from its current retail unit and occupy the proposed retail unit at Tradeworld. United Carpets have only recently moved to Unit 5 from another unit within the Foundry Retail Park (Unit 12 – Adjacent to DFS), due to lease arrangements.

The application adds that "it is not anticipated that the vacating of United Carpets from the Great Eastern Retail Park will have a significant adverse impact on the vitality and viability of the emerging centre as a whole. Indeed the previous United Carpet unit has already been pre let to Coop Concessions [AHF Futniture] and it is anticipated from the previous "churn" of occupiers at this retail park over the previous years that Unit 5 will not remain vacant for an extended period of time."

An assessment of the impact on town centres is also included with the applicant adding: "As the proposal actually results in a reduction in United Carpets trading floorspace, it is extremely unlikely that impact levels on any of the identified competing units within defined centres, will be of a significant adverse level; indeed these are anticipated to be negligible."

United Carpets website
Litton Property Group website

Images: Litton


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