11th August, 2020
Quod are involved in a number of schemes which seek to repurpose major vacant stores (or stores threatened from vacancy)in town centre locations, and turn around the undermining effect such voids can have on the centres economy, given the increasing commercial pressures that centres are under from the seismic changes in the retail market.
Most recently, Quod secured two separate planning consents for the repurposing of the existing House of Fraser store within Leamington Spa’s Primary Shopping Frontage. Both consents provide flexibility for the future and quick reoccupation of the site in the event that House of Fraser depart.
The updated National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) (July 2018, revised February 2019) changes the approach to town centre development from its predecessor (NPPF, 2012). Specifically, the Government recognise that there are rapid changes to the retail and leisure industries which necessitate a more flexible and positive approach to planning for the future of town centres.
In the case of Leamington Spa, two market-facing schemes were approved comprising a mix of retail, restaurant, office and leisure uses. Quod provided the necessary justifications to overcome the prevailing planning policy, which in this case restricted non-retail (A1) uses at both ground and upper levels of the building within the Primary Shopping Frontage.
A key part of Quod’s role was to identify and coordinate the commercial evidence to demonstrate to the Council how the site’s repurposing would add to the diversity and vitality of Leamington Spa, rather than compete with it. These justifications were a key component of Quod’s negotiations with the Council, justifying a development that was contrary to the adopted planning policy.
Quod are advising on a range of other repurposing schemes for major stores in city and town centres across the Country, given the recent changes in the retail market.