December 13 2013 Latest news:
Thursday, September 26, 2013
A new shop is set to open in Wymondham tomorrow despite having incorrect planning permission.
Poundstretcher is due to open in the former Focus DIY store in Gateway 11 business park, Wymondham.
But the leader of South Norfolk council has revealed it does not have the correct planning permission.
John Fuller, said: “In late August I spotted a small news piece in a trade magazine saying Poundstretcher had taken the lease at the Focus DIY store.
“That was only granted permission in 2007 and it was on the basis that they sold bulky goods and DIY materials. The reason was because smaller items are to be sold in the town centre – we want to protect the town centre.”
Mr Fuller said the council wrote to Poundstretcher on September 12 and gave it the opportunity to apply for planning permission.
“We can only take enforcement once it has opened,” he said.
“We have got nothing against Poundstretcher themselves and if they want to sell bulky goods then they are fine to do so.
“They are a reputable firm and we were expecting them to apply for planning permission before they opened.”
In April 2012, landlords Standard Life Investment Property Holdings lodged an appeal to sell a wider range of goods.
A similar case is being considered in the High Court which should clarify the legal issue arising in this and several similar cases around the country.
The appeal is currently held in abeyance pending the outcome of the High Court case.
A spokesman for Poundstretcher said: “Our landlord has applied for a Certificate of Lawful Use at the High Court which he is confident will be granted shortly.
“If this is unsuccessful we will submit a planning application to regularise the position.”
Mr Fuller said the council’s priority was the town centre and that out of town developments would dilute the high street.
“At the moment, the existing planning permission excludes items such as food and chemist stores.
“It encapsulates the dilemmas that councils face,” he said. “The council takes planning very seriously and new developments should be in the town centre first. When there was an application for a supermarket, we chose the site which was closest to the town centre.”