An Inspector has rejected a proposal to allow a vacant out of centre DIY store in Torquay to be used for food retailing by Morrisons on sequential test and impact grounds. The Inspector granted planning permission for the physical conversion works but refused to lift a condition restricting the use of the store to bulky goods/DIY so rendering the permission unimplementable in practice. The Inspector found there were no design objections to the conversion works and that it was not unsustainable to allow works to convert a building to a use that was objectionable on retail grounds. However, the existence of a sequential preferable site on the edge of the town centre promoted by the Torbay Development Agency and trade impacts on nearby centres meant that the use was contrary to the retail policies of the NPPF and so should not be allowed. Michael Bedford acted for Torbay Council .
The Inspector's decision letter dated 15 January 2014 can be accessed via the PINS website under reference APP/X/1165/A/13/2197729.