A food shop could open in a retail park – despite objections from the town council.
When the original planning application to revamp London Road Retail Park in Biggleswade was submitted Biggleswade Town Council gave its support on the grounds that there would be no food shops.
They felt that food stores would deflect trade from the town centre.
Central Beds Council approved the original application in July last year, with the proviso that no food be sold except for in a maximum of 975 sq m in unit C, which is expected to become Marks and Spencer.
But now the company in charge of the rebuild, LXB RP (Biggleswade), has submitted a variation of conditions planning application to sell food in Unit G.
This would be up to a maximum of 1,208 sq m of food.
The application states: “The proposed operator of the unit is currently not known and the purpose of this application is to allow flexibility with the proposed letting of the unit.”
This implies that no non-food retailer has agreed to set up shop in Unit G.
Although the town council was supportive of the retail park upgrade as a whole, councillors are concerned that the addition of food to the site will take trade away from the market square.
Councillor Hazel Ramsay, mayor of Biggleswade, said: “It was resolved that the town council objects to this application. In the original correspondence there was an assurance that there would not be any food outlets on the development.
“It was one of the assurances that we sought when dealing with the original application because we are mindful of protecting the trade in the market square and town centre.”
The specific application class does not relate to takeaways or to restaurants or cafes where food is consumed on the premises. The majority of the food will have to be taken away from the shop to be eaten.
The planning application is currently up for consultation. To submit a comment online visit http://tinyurl.com/oof coan The consultation period expires on Tuesday, November 5. No comments have yet been submitted.
Do you think that a food shop or a supermarket should be allowed on the retail park? Email your thoughts to letters@biggleswadechroni cle.co.uk or right to us at 7 High Street, Biggleswade, SG18 0JB.