Retail diversity and planning policy
Planners can encourage more retail diversity by ensuring that planning policies include statements of support for specifically for food retail. This will then help strengthen planning decisions made in favour to encourage specific types of food retail as well as give support for other policies that encourage retail diversity.
There are examples from local authorities across the country who have included the following in planning policy.
a) Specify 'food shops' as meeting day-to-day need in local planning policies
b) Protect 'sole shops'
c) Support Neighbourhood/Local Centres
d) Encourage Small and independent retailers.
Tesco planning application in Stokes Croft in Bristol (2010)
In November 2009, Tesco were granted 'Change of Use' planning permission for a store in Stokes Croft, Bristol. This allowed them to change the site from being an entertainment venue to a retail store. Tesco kept their identity secret in the initial stages of their planning permission application. Stokes Croft is renowned for its diverse, independent culture and abundance of local shops. Tesco's attempt to move into the area has been opposed by a large number of residents; hundreds of people turned out for public meetings, 2,500 people sent postcards to Bristol City Council objecting to the store and demanding consultation, and 96% of 500 local residents surveyed said they didn't want another supermarket in the area. Bristol City Council's licensing committee met in early October 2010 to consider whether to grant Tesco an alcohol licence for their proposed store. As a result of the combined objections of the community and the police, Councillors unanimously voted against the application. In subsequent discussions applications for the shop front and signage were passed, under conditions that alterations are made to the original applications. The entire external works application was postponed however, pending Tesco carrying out a noise impact assessment.
London Borough of Newham: Food Outlet Mapping (2010) Survey data recorded the number, location and nature of food and drink outlets in the Borough. The key aim was to identify 'hot spots' of unhealthy food and drink and 'cold spots' of poor access to healthy food. This evidence should inform retail policies and in planning decision-making and enforcement work. The report maps: clustering of hot food takeaways (including in relation to secondary schools); healthy food outlets; and low price alcohol hotspots.
More information can be food in the Good Planning for Good Food report.