Northampton Local Plan 1997

CHAPTER 6 : RETAIL

TOWN CENTRE 

6.21. The Town Centre for the purposes of the retail chapter of the Local Plan is defined  by the Inset Area of the Proposals Map (excluding land to the south and west of St Peters Way/St Andrews  Road). It contains Primary and Secondary Shopping Frontages.

6.22. The Council's objectives for the town centre are to:

a) provide a safe, convenient, and pleasant environment for shoppers;

b) improve access and parking facilities;

c) extend pedestrianisation and reduce pedestrian conflict with motor  vehicles;

d) encourage covered shopping facilities where appropriate;

e) improve bus terminal facilities, and  facilities for other forms of public transport and taxis;

f)  encourage the siting of new developments on derelict or unused land;

g) encourage  use of vacant upper floors for residential use where appropriate.

6.23. The success of the town centre as a shopping area owes much to the rapid growth of Northampton. The Council recognises the continuing need to improve the quality of shopping in the town centre. It also recognises that the allocation of suitable sites for new major shopping schemes within the town centre can in addition revitalise peripheral commercial locations and also contribute to urban enhancement.

6.24. The town centre provides the main location for comparison goods shopping such as clothing, footwear, jewellery and books. The majority of future floorspace for this type of retailing should continue to be in the town centre in order to sustain  its role as the prime shopping centre of Northampton. Leisure and cultural  facilities are an important part of the town centre environment and shopping proposals which integrate these uses are to be encouraged.

6.25. The Council considers that Northampton's  role as a sub-regional centre can be enhanced, and to this end major retail development schemes incorporating  appropriate leisure  and cultural   facilities  will  be encouraged  in the town centre.

6.26. However the growth of service uses associated with shops in the town centre such as banks and building societies, estate agents, restaurants and amusement arcades, has led to increasing applications for planning permission to change the use of shop units. Although  it is recognised that such uses are appropriate in shopping areas, experience has shown that too  great a concentration of these can have a severely detrimental  effect on the retail activity of an area. Both financial and professional  services  (class A2) and food and drink uses (class A3) are seen as uses which are compatible in principle with a shopping area and should therefore be permitted. However  if  they are being proposed in units presently used as class A1 shop use then permission must be dependant on the satisfaction of criteria ( policies R5, R6 and R7) in order to retain an acceptable shopping content in the town centre such that the trading function of the town centre is not undermined.

6.27. The following policy therefore applies to changes of use from a shop (class A1) in the town centre. For changes of use in primary or secondary  shopping frontages, Policies R6 and R7 should determine whether a proposal complies with Criterion B of policy R5.

POLICY R5 : TOWN CENTRE : CHANGE OF USE

PLANNING PERMISSION FOR THE CHANGE OF USE FROM A SHOP (CLASS A1) IN THE TOWN CENTRE WILL BE GRANTED WHERE: 

A)   THE APPEARANCE AND CHARACTERISTICS OF THE PROPOSED USE WOULD BE APPROPRIATE TO THE PREMISES AND THE LOCALITY, AND 

B)   THE CHANGE OF USE WOULD NOT LEAD TO AN UNDUE CONCENTRATION OF SUCH USES, AND

C)   THE PROPOSED USE WOULD NOT SIGNIFICANTLY HARM THE AMENITY OF NEIGHBOURING PREMISES, AND 

D)   THE PREMISES WOULD HAVE ADEQUATE AND APPROPRIATE SERVICING FACILITIES, AND

E)    THE PROPOSED USE WOULD NOT SERIOUSLY LOWER LEVELS OF PEDESTRIAN AND VEHICULAR TRAFFIC SAFETY AND CONVENIENCE.

POLICY R5 REPLACED BY Central Area action plan POLICY 11.

 

DISTRICT AND LOCAL CENTRES 

6.31. The Council's aim is to strengthen and improve the facilities of the district/local centres as reflected in policy R1. Where there is scope for redevelopment within the centres, proposals for providing a variety of shopping uses and associated facilities  are encouraged. Some district centres need environmental improvements to enhance their attractiveness and to maintain their role. 

6.32. The Council will favourably consider new retail development in district centres where this would strengthen and improve facilities, without detriment to the amenity of the surrounding areas. 

6.33.  While many uses are appropriate in district and local shopping areas to provide services expected by shoppers, it is generally accepted that, as in the town centre, their character and vitality can suffer if  too many uses other than shops are introduced. Several factors have to be considered - the nature of the shopping area, the type of use proposed, and the current proportion of premises which are not shops. 

6.34. The older shopping centres have developed along sections of the main radial routes such as Wellingborough Road, Kettering Road, St James/Weedon Road and St Leonard’s Road. Within these centres there are types of trade and service not found in the town centre - specialist shops attracting particular customers. These take advantage of secondary and cheaper locations. The trend for small retail premises to diversify away from traditional uses in this way is beneficial. 

6.35. In some centres (particularly Wellingborough  Road and Kettering Road), shopping frontages are adjacent to residential areas which can be adversely affected by some changing trends, particularly late evening trading. The growth of hot food take-away shops is of particular concern; the Council is seriously concerned especially along Wellingborough Road by the effects of these on traffic, nuisance and litter. It is clear that consideration must be given to the impact of such uses on any nearby residential areas.

6.36.  In the expansion areas many centres were  built during the 1970's as part of the town expansion programme, often with community facilities. Various community facilities are also being added to local centres in the older parts of the town, and this extension of their role is now being encouraged. 

6.37. One of the most contentious uses in district/local shopping centres are hot food take-aways. In many cases problems such as noise, smells, litter, late night trading, and on street parking have been encountered and all of these will need to be taken into account in considering how amenity will be affected in order to determine planning applications. Where centres immediately adjoin a primarily residential area, particular consideration will need to be given to the impact on residential properties. In this context it is often the case that hot food take-aways are more appropriately situated in recently developed centres where car parking and servicing areas provide space between the take-away and neighbouring dwellings where noise and smells are more easily dispersed. 

6.38. Vacant floors above shops represent an important yet under-used resource within the town. Where these are not required for purposes ancillary to the use of the ground floor, they could be used where appropriate for residential purposes, providing the proposals satisfy policies H21, H22 and H23 of the Local Plan concerning flat conversion. This would help to promote activity within shopping areas outside shop hours and provide a source of low cost housing.

POLICY R9 : DISTRICT AND LOCAL CENTRES : CHANGES OF USE FROM SHOPS

PLANNING PERMISSION WILL NOT BE GRANTED FOR CHANGE OF USE FROM SHOP USE (CLASS A1) IN DISTRICT AND LOCAL CENTRES WHERE: 

A)   IT WOULD LEAD TO UNACCEPTABLE TRAFFIC PROBLEMS

B)   IT WOULD ADVERSELY AFFECT THE AMENITY OF NEIGHBOURING PROPERTIES OR THE AREA AS A WHOLE 

C)   IT WOULD BE DETRIMENTAL TO THE SHOPPING CHARACTER OF A CENTRE OR PART OF A CENTRE BY AN UNACCEPTABLE INCREASE IN THE NUMBER OF NON-SHOP USES OR INCREASING THE LENGTH OF FRONTAGE IN NON-SHOP USE TO AN UNACCEPTABLE PROPORTION OF THE TOTAL FRONTAGE.

POICY R9 : INTERACTIVE MAPPING JCS

SHOPPING FACILITIES IN MAJOR RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT 

6.40. To meet the needs of the new population arising from major residential development it is important  to provide adequate shopping facilities in the form of local centres which can incorporate community facilities and other related development.

POLICY R11 : SHOPPING FACILITIES / LOCAL CENTRE IN MAJOR RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT

THE PROVISION OF SITES FOR ADEQUATE SHOPPING FACILITIES IN THE FORM OF A LOCAL CENTRE  WILL BE A REQUIREMENT IN THE FOLLOWING MAJOR RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT AREAS: 

BERRYWOOD, 

REPLACED BY JOINT CORE STRATEGY POLICIES s5, s10 & n9

WEST NORTHAMPTONSHIRE JOINT CORE STRATEGY LOCAL PLAN (PART 1) ADOPTED - DECEMBER 2014.

 

KINGS HEATH,

REPLACED BY JOINT CORE STRATEGY POLICIES S1 S5 & S10

WEST NORTHAMPTONSHIRE JOINT CORE STRATEGY LOCAL PLAN (PART 1) ADOPTED - DECEMBER 2014.

 

UPTON,

REPLACED BY JOINT CORE STRATEGY POLICIES s5, s10 & n9

WEST NORTHAMPTONSHIRE JOINT CORE STRATEGY LOCAL PLAN (PART 1) ADOPTED - DECEMBER 2014.

 

WOOTTON FIELDS, 

Policy not saved.

CAR SHOWROOMS 

6.48. Car showrooms (including outside display areas) are not particularly suited to locations within established shopping centres. By the nature of their business they tend to attract vehicular traffic, are serviced by heavy and bulky delivery vehicles and require comparatively large floor areas. Often in addition to the showrooms, open display areas are required and usually some maintenance or servicing is carried out. This, and the all too often garish advertising, are considered generally to be inappropriate in the town centre or within other shopping centres. There are, however, suitable sites for such businesses alongside primary roads, on the fringe of business areas and in retail warehouse parks.

POLICY R15 : CAR SHOWROOMS

PLANNING  PERMISSION WILL NOT BE GRANTED  FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF CAR SALES AND SHOWROOM DEVELOPMENT IN OR ADJACENT TO RECOGNISED SHOPPING CENTRES. PLANNING PERMISSION WILL BE GRANTED ONLY WHERE A SITE CAN BE SHOWN TO BE SUITABLE BY REASON OF ITS PROXIMITY TO THE PRIMARY ROAD NETWORK AND NATURE OF THE LOCALITY.

Policy R15 : Interactive mapping jcs

RETAIL SALES FROM  PETROL FILLING STATIONS 

6.49  It is convenient  for motorists to shop at petrol filling stations, and most filling stations now provide these facilities. However, it is important to ensure that this ancillary retail activity does not expand to the point where nearby residents are disturbed by increased activity at places which are often open for longer hours than most shops in existing shopping areas.

POLICY R16 : RETAIL SALES FROM PETROL FILLING STATIONS

PLANNING PERMISSION WILL ONLY BE GRANTED FOR RETAIL USE AT PETROL FILLING STATIONS WHERE: 

A)   THE RETAIL USE REMAINS ANCILLARY TO THE PRIMARY USE AS A PETROL FILLING STATION 

B)   THE LOCALITY IS APPROPRIATE TO A LOCAL SHOPPING FACILITY 

C)   THE RESULTING ADDITIONAL PEDESTRIAN AND VEHICULAR ACTIVITY WOULD NOT BE DETRIMENTAL TO HIGHWAY SAFETY, OR TO THE OCCUPIERS OF NEARBY PROPERTIES

D)   THE PROPOSAL SATISFIES THE PARKING STANDARDS AS SET OUT IN APPENDIX 11. 

POLICY R16 : INTERACTIVE MAPPING JCS

RETAILING FROM INDUSTRIAL PREMISES

6.49. Retailing direct from industrial premises can result in congestion and nuisance caused  by customers' vehicles especially where there is no on-site car parking provision. This is particularly the case with factory shops located in the older residential areas of Northampton. To enable the retail use to operate without detriment to local residents it is necessary for customer parking to be satisfactorily accommodated within the site and the retail component to remain ancillary to the main manufacturing use of the premises.

POLICY R17 : RETAILING FROM INDUSTRIAL PREMISES

PLANNING PERMISSION WILL BE GRANTED FOR RETAILING FROM INDUSTRIAL PREMISES PROVIDED THAT: 

A)   IT IS ANCILLARY TO THE PRIMARY USE OF THE SITE 

B)   THE RETAIL SALES RELATE TO THE GOODS MANUFACTURED ON THE SITE

C)  RESIDENTIAL AMENITY IS NOT ADVERSELY AFFECTED

D)   THE PROPOSALS SATISFY THE PARKING STANDARDS AS SET OUT  IN APPENDIX 11.

Policy R17 : INTERACTIVE MAPPING JCS