Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Growth Could Be Floored

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Growth Could Be Floored

Article excerpt

Byline: By Richard Freeman-Wallace

On March 3, the Office of the Deputy Minister put the spotlight on mezzanines in out-of-town retail developments.

Planning Minister Keith Hill announced a consultation paper with words of warning. He said: "Warehouse-style retailers who increase their floorspace with mezzanine floors or basements can draw more trade away from town centres, where businesses cannot accommodate similar expansions.

"We don't intend to halt mezzanine development, but to bring large increases in retail floorspace under planning control to prevent inappropriate development."

Retail benefits

Installing a mezzanine floor has been the perfect answer for many retailers, providing substantially more space at minimal cost.

However, Planning Policy Statement 6: Planning for Town Centres (PPS6), which came into force last month, militates against the increase in out-of-town retail floorspace without planning controls.

Provisions in the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 will restrict the construction of mezzanine floors and require proposals to be the subject of planning consent. This will have a significant impact on North-East furniture, food and DIY out-of-town retailers.

The Government proposes that permission should be necessary for internal works to a building where:

* Those works would have the effect of increasing the gross floor space of the building by more than 200sq m;

* The building is used for the retailing of goods other than hot food;

* The effect of the works is to provide additional floor space which can be used for the retail sale of goods other than hot food.

The proposals apply only to increases in internal gross floor space of more than 200sq m, to protect smaller, town-centre businesses.

Size wise

Mezzanine floors are a strong attraction because they allow retailers to bring in new customers, extend the range of goods and sales floors. …

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