Officials have recommended that plans for a large new garden centre at Scotch Corner are approved, despite objections from local businesses and the scheme being “beyond the scale and nature of any retail development envisaged by the local plan”.
Planning officers at Richmondshire District Council have advised councillors to approve the scheme when they meet next week.
The £16m outlet would be built next to the Scotch Corner Designer Village, which has already been granted planning permission.
It would be operated by Blue Diamond Garden Centres, which already has 30 outlets across the UK and Channel Islands.
The garden centre would have 14,775 of floorspace and would include indoor and outdoor sales areas, as well as a cafe, restaurant and car park.
Developers behind the scheme say it will only bring “positive benefits” to the area, but businesses in Richmond have disagreed.
Richmond Business and Tourism Association submitted an objection saying members believed there was potential damage from the proposed development to Richmond retailers and other garden centres in a wide area.
Gilling West Parish Council also raised a number of concerns, including the impact on existing businesses.
A report for councillors concluded that the development was “beyond the scale and nature of any retail development envisaged by the local plan as it seeks to meet the needs not just of Richmondshire but also those from a larger catchment area.”
It added that it was also contrary to the North Richmondshire Spatial Strategy which gives priority to consolidation of the
existing and committed employment development at Scotch Corner with no further expansion onto undeveloped land being envisaged.
However, it added that the context for development on the site has changed significantly since the current local plan was
adopted through the granting of planning consent for the Designer Outlet Village scheme on the adjacent site.
The report added that the scheme would bring “substantial economic investment and job creation in the local area along with the ability to accelerate the creation and delivery of a true retail destination alongside the DOV scheme that would attract many visitors to the area”.
It continued: “The benefits to be derived from the scheme are significant and fundamentally outweigh the limited policy conflicts highlighted in this report to the extent that planning permission should be granted.”
Members of the planning committee will meet next Tuesday to discuss the application.
For more details on the scheme click here.