Could out-of-town discount food store affect Chichester city centre?

Could an out-of-town discount food retail unit harm the city centre?
Could an out-of-town discount food retail unit harm the city centre?

BUSINESS advisors have highlighted worries a new retail site could further harm Chichester’s city centre.

A new discount food retail store – rumoured to be Aldi – could be built off the A259 dual carriageway between the Bognor and Drayton roundabouts, as well as three ‘roadside catering units’.

Chichester District Council’s economic development team claims the impact of these units on the city centre ‘has not been fully explored or evidenced’.

It is calling for the size of the store to be reduced from the proposed 2,431sqm to 1,800sqm, which it said was the ‘standard size for discount food retailers’, as part of its response to the current planning application.

“Due to the historic nature of the city, the size of retail units within the city centre are small, therefore, a retail unit of the size proposed would not normally be available,” it said.

“The application is for a discount retailer. Our concern is, without appropriate conditions, the retail unit will be available for any retailer, including key retailers currently located in the city centre.”

The response then quoted a study carried out by the University of Southampton in 2014, revealing the expanding non-food offer of out-of-town supermarkets is adding even greater burdens onto the high street.

“As with other out-of-town developments, there should be a restriction on the comparison goods available at the site,” said the economic development team.

“The restriction will prevent a significant impact on businesses within the city centre and other retail parks.”

It said without these restrictions in place it would not support the development when it comes before the planning committee at a later date.

It has however praised the introduction of 7,830sqm of buildings for business use as part of the site.

However, the planning committee is already being urged to throw out the application by Highways England, which claims it has not been given information about how the food store would impact on the A27.

Access in and out of the site would be by traffic lights installed on the A259.

To view the application in full, visit www.chichester.gov.uk and search for application 14/04284/OUT

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