Decision finally due on out-of-town retail park

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Plans for an out-of-town retail park next to a supermarket could finally be approved by councillors after six years of planning.

WM Morrison has applied to build six non-food shops on the former Mirlees Blackstone factory in Uffington Road, Stamford, next to Morrisons supermarket.

South Kesteven District Council’s development control committee will consider the plans on Tuesday.

Planning officers have recommended that councillors approve the application.

A report to the committee says: “A retail impact assessment and a transport assessment have been submitted in support of the application and it is considered that these demonstrate that the development, subject to conditions, would not have a significant adverse impact on Stamford town centre or highway safety.”

Morrisons has not confirmed which brands would fill the new shops, but says up to 45 jobs could be created.

The retail park has been in the planning process since 2006.

The supermarket chain initially submitted an application for the retail park and a JJB store fitness centre.

It was approved by the district council in July, 2008. But the permission was quashed by a High Court judge in July, 2009, after Stamford Chamber of Trade and Commerce and FH Gilman and Co objected to the development, saying it would hit town centre trade.

Mr Justice Andrew Collins said at the time that the council had made errors in dealing with issues on public transport and setting a floorspace limit on the sale of “non-bulky comparison goods”, such as such as clothing, toys, books, pet products and soft furnishings.

The sale of smaller goods would be more likely to have an adverse impact on town centre shops than the sale of bulky goods including fridge-freezers and washing machines, he said.

The application has been amended since the High Court decision. Morrisons has reduced the floorspace of the units and taken out the fitness centre.

The amount of floorspace dedicated to non-bulky items has also been reduced.

The plans came before councillors again in August, but a decision was delayed so issues raised by objectors could be considered.

A separate application to build a pub restaurant on the site has been submitted by the firm.