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chapter5

peak district landscape
 

Shops, Services and Community Facilities




Strategic context

5.1

It is the National Park Authority's statutory duty whilst pursuing its main purposes, also to seek to foster the economic and social well-being of local communities within the National Park. Structure Plan Policies SC1 and SC2 promote and protect facilities which are important for local communities. Retailing can help to provide a sense of identity, vitality and viability to settlements and can contribute to the local economy. Detailed policy for the provision or upgrading of community facilities and retailing should therefore be of a positive, enabling nature whilst meeting conservation concerns. However, land use planning policy has a limited influence on retail and community service provision compared to market forces and other public sector expenditure and programmes.

5.2

Most of the National Park's settlements lie within reach of larger towns and cities beyond its boundary. It is appropriate, therefore, that only retail development suited to local needs plus a reasonable level of visitor demand should be allowed. Bakewell is the main service centre within the National Park. Its community and shopping development issues are considered in Chapter 12 of this plan. Except in Bakewell the Structure Plan does not allow for major retail development within the Park. Structure Plan Policy SC1 restricts retail services to the confines of towns and villages. These are now Local Plan Settlements (see paragraph 3.10 and policy LC2 in this Local Plan). However, exceptions may be appropriate for retailing associated with farm diversification or appropriately scaled factory shops and at existing petrol stations, where these will not threaten the viability of nearby settlements.

5.3

Detailed policy on matters such as shop front design, advertising or community facility parking are dealt with in the conservation and transport chapters of this Plan.

 

Retailing and services in Local Plan Settlements

5.4

The Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987 does not distinguish between different types of non-food goods sold from retail outlets. This restricts the extent to which planning authorities can control the 'type' of shop found in settlements. Hence the National Park Authority cannot normally distinguish, for example, between a shop selling essentially local convenience goods and one which sells souvenirs or craft goods to visitors. Visitor orientated goods can provide extra sales or a valuable complementary use for local shops, by attracting a larger customer base.

5.5

Settlements should not, however, be allowed to become over-saturated and visually cluttered with shops serving visitors' needs only. As well as displacing those that provide essential services to the community, over-intensive retail activity can begin to use up local housing stock, thereby increasing the pressure for new development. This is an issue in Castleton and Hartington, where pressure for visitor shopping is greatest. In view of this, any new retail development in these two settlements should only be allowed where the applicant is willing to enter into a legal agreement or obligation that guarantees an appropriate level of sales of goods of the type that would be of direct benefit to the local community rather than being essentially visitor orientated. Such uses could include grocery stores, newsagents, hairdressers, and post offices. Retailing that remains ancillary to manufacturing or established tourist attractions may also be acceptable where it is compatible with other Development Plan policies.

5.6

Changing a shop to another use is resisted by Structure Plan Policy SC1. This protects the availability of facilities locally, and in particular helps the young, the elderly and those without access to private transport. It can therefore encourage a more sustainable transport pattern. Only where it can be shown that a shop is no longer viable or required by the local community, and that the proposed new use meets another community need, should change of use be allowed. In determining whether change of use will be allowed, the National Park Authority should therefore consider why the application has been made, the importance of the outlet to the local community and whether reasonable efforts have been made to continue the use if still viable. Where it is accepted that the present use is unable to continue, the approved new use should provide for another local community need, such as affordable housing or workspace. However, where an existing shop is operated from part of a family home, residential amenity may sometimes override other considerations. The General Permitted Development Order 1995 allows for the change of use of the first floor of a shop to living accommodation or a financial or professional service use without the need for Planning Permission. Such uses can prevent the loss of vitality that accompanies buildings which are partly unused. The National Park Authority will encourage the appropriate use of upper floors of buildings when assessing development proposals.

5.7

Change of use of the ground floor part of a local shop to a financial or professional services outlet or hot food shop is often inappropriate in a small settlement with only one or two shops. However, within the larger settlements these can be suitable as secondary uses, provided they do not dominate normal retail use, or threaten the character, viability and vitality of the local centre.

5.8

When buildings are converted to a shopping use, the upper floor is not always required by the shopkeeper. If allowance is not made for access to upper floors they can be left vacant. Their use for single person accommodation or office space is then prevented, to the disadvantage of the vitality of settlements and sometimes to the upkeep of the buildings concerned.



Policy LS1: Retailing and services in Local Plan Settlements

(a)

Retail development (use class A1) within Local Plan Settlements will be permitted provided that:

(i)

its scale is appropriate to local shopping needs or acceptable levels of visitor orientated outlets;

and

(ii)

there are adequate facilities and access for the storage and disposal of goods, waste and delivery of stock;

and

(iii)

in newly built shops (and in those conversions that involve substantial change to an existing building) provision is made for access allowing separate use of upper floors. This should be from an entrance onto the front of the building wherever possible;

and

(iv)

access is provided for people with a mobility difficulty, except where it would harm the character of an existing building.

(b)

Development to provide professional or financial service outlets (use class A2) or for the sale and consumption of food or drink (use class A3) will be permitted provided that it does not erode the primary retail (use class A1) role of the area or harm its character, viability and vitality.

(c)

Where the development of a take-away foodshop is proposed, particular care must be taken to protect the amenity of nearby property (for example by restricting opening times) and to ensure local traffic safety.

(d)

In Castleton and Hartington, retail development will be permitted provided that there is reasonable certainty that the goods for sale will be primarily appropriate to local community needs. Retail sales that are ancillary to manufacturing or to an established tourist or recreational attraction may also be acceptable.



Policy LS2: Change of use from a shop to any other use

(a)

A change of use of the ground floor part of a shop will not be permitted where it would reduce the range of community services available locally, unless it can be shown that the shop is no longer required by the community, is duplicated elsewhere within the settlement, or is no longer viable. When considering viability, evidence of reasonable attempts to sell or let the shop as a going concern will be material.

(b)

Where it proves impracticable to continue a building's use as a shop, new uses should meet another community need (including those for affordable housing for local people or for workspace). Evidence of reasonable attempts to secure such a use will be required before alternatives are permitted.

(c)

Where a shop constitutes a small proportion of a dwelling, residential amenity will be fully taken into account when considering change of use. If segregation of a shop from a dwelling would have an unacceptable impact on its residential amenity, permission will be granted for a change to residential use.



Retail development outside Local Plan Settlements

5.9

In keeping with Structure Plan Policy C2, retail development outside Local Plan Settlements (see Chapter 3 of this Local Plan) should be resisted except where it is part of an approved farm diversification scheme (see also Policy LC14), or recreational development. Retailing related to the needs of motorists can also be acceptable at existing petrol stations. However, the retail operation should not become the main use of the site. There is no need for new petrol stations outside Local Plan Settlements. In addition, Structure Plan Policy RT5 severely restricts the use of sites by mobile vendors.

5.10

Increasingly, certain types of shopping have become a leisure activity, generally relying on visits by car. Garden centres are a good example and some sites have grown from purely horticultural sales to include refreshment facilities and retailing unrelated to the primary function of the outlet. These then attract visitors and traffic in their own right and can require large sites in the countryside. As a recreational activity they do not depend on a location within the National Park and are contrary to policy (see Structure Plan Policy RT1). New horticulturally-based retailing should therefore be carefully controlled to avoid proliferation of non-related development on the site.

5.11

Retail sales from existing factory units may be acceptable where the goods sold are manufactured on the site and retailing is ancillary to the main use. Retailing linked to a recreational development should also remain closely related and secondary in scale to the primary recreational attraction, including refreshments and food sales. Some small scale activity is 'permitted development' and does not require planning permission. Owners or developers are advised to check with the National Park Authority. Similarly, the incidental sale of a farm's produce need not require planning permission. As a rule of thumb, any retailing that becomes a significant activity in its own right requires planning permission, particularly if goods or produce for sale are brought onto the site. Several farms might reasonably co-operate in the sale of produce at one outlet, but this would require specific permission. The sale of seasonally available farm produce from elsewhere may be acceptable where it helps to maintain the viability of the sales outlet, but only at a scale where the farm produce remains the predominant produce for sale. The policy to prevent loss of sites suitable for business and industrial uses is also relevant (see paragraph 6.9 and Policy LE5).

5.12

In all cases it will be important to avoid the generation of traffic that would lead to inappropriate amounts on small country lanes. Proposals should not be of a scale or nature that become significant attractions in their own right or that threaten the retail viability or potential of nearby settlements.



Policy LS3: Retail development outside Local Plan Settlements

(a)

Retail development outside Local Plan Settlements will not be permitted unless it is closely associated with farm diversification, tourist or recreational development, or is part of on-site sales from an existing factory unit or petrol station. In all cases, the retail element should be ancillary to the main land use of the site.

(b)

Where retail development is associated with an industrial or business unit, sales will be wholly or mainly restricted to goods produced on site. Where they are part of a farm diversification scheme, sales will be wholly, or mainly, restricted to agricultural or forestry produce from the locality. Sales of seasonally available farm products from outside the unit will be acceptable provided that they are at a scale where they do not become the predominant goods available throughout the year.

(c)

At petrol stations, retail activity must remain ancillary to fuel sales. New petrol stations will not be permitted outside Local Plan Settlements.

(d)

New garden centres in the open countryside will not be permitted. New development within existing garden centres or nurseries will not be permitted unless it is related to the primary function of the site and would not damage the valued characteristics of the area.

(e)

Retail development will not be permitted if it would lead to inappropriate types or volumes of traffic on country roads and lanes, or is of a scale or nature that threatens the retail vitality, viability or potential of nearby settlements.



Community facilities

5.13

For Local Plan purposes, community facilities are those developments (and improvements to existing services) which include community health facilities, schools, village halls or centres, post offices, libraries, playgrounds and playing fields. They make a positive social, educational, recreational or health-related contribution to the lifestyle of local residents. Playgrounds and playing fields are also dealt with in the Recreation and Tourism chapter (see paragraph 7.12 and Policy LR2). Bakewell is also dealt with in Chapter 12 of this Plan. As with retailing, good community facilities help reduce the need for travel to other locations, contributing to a more sustainable transport pattern and to the vitality of a settlement.

5.14

Sites likely to be developed for beneficial community use which have been agreed in principle by the National Park Authority, can be safeguarded from other development and where possible, identified on the Proposals Map. Exceptions to safeguarding such sites may be acceptable where an equally good alternative site is made available. Development offering a dual or multiple community use should be considered particularly favourably, although conservation interests always need to be taken into account. Long term availability of new buildings for public use is clearly essential and the National Park Authority may seek planning obligations to ensure this.

5.15

Structure Plan Policy SC2 safeguards existing community facilities from development including change of use which would reduce the range of local opportunity. Land use planning, however, has only marginal influence on the provision of many community facilities which may be subject to fluctuations in pubic spending programmes and to changing patterns of community life.



Policy LS4: Community facilities

(a)

New or improved community facilities of a scale suited to local need will be permitted:

(i)

in Local Plan Settlements or on their edges if no suitable internal site is available;

and

(ii)

in smaller settlements, provided that the scale of the proposed development is modest.

(b)

Change of use of an existing community facility will not be permitted if it would result in the loss of a service to the local community, unless it can be shown that the facility is no longer required, is available elsewhere in the settlement, or is no longer viable. Wherever possible, a new use should meet another community need (including that for affordable housing for local people or for economic activity). Evidence of reasonable attempts to secure such a use will be required before alternatives are permitted.



Policy LS5: Safeguarding sites for community facilities

Sites identified for the provision of new or expanded community facilities or those gaining planning permission for such use will be safeguarded from other prejudicial development on or adjacent to the site.

 

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