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Sargeant announces town centre retail policy review

Words: Roger Milne
Carl Sargeant | National Assembly for Wales

Planning minister Carl Sargeant has announced a review of current planning policy on retailing and town centres. Officials have been told to “refresh” Planning Policy Wales and the relevant Technical Advice Note - TAN 4.

Sargeant said the update was necessary to reflect the needs and requirements of 21st century town and retailing centres “which are changing their character as shopping trends evolve."

He cited the growth in out-of-town retailing and online shopping.

Sargeant also revealed that his department would look at the case for changing town centre use classes and promised new controls over the introduction of mezzanine floors.

In a written statement to the Welsh parliament Sargeant explained: “I am examining ways in which certain uses of buildings, including retail premises, and current planning controls which affect changes in these, can be improved.

“I have instructed officials to commission research on the “use classes” issue and, in particular, to examine potential changes to town centre use classes. This will inform secondary legislation in due course.”

He added: “It is also my intention to introduce controls on the insertion of new mezzanine floors in retail developments, a tool which has been used by out-of-town retailers to increase the sizes of their stores significantly without the need for planning permission. I shall be consulting on the specific nature of these controls in due course.”

Image courtesy of the National Assembly of Wales