Planning watchdog rejects appeal over proposal for new unit in car park of Hartlepool’s Morrisons store

The Planning Inspectorate has rejected an appeal by supermarket bosses over plans to create a separate retail unit at its Hartlepool site.

Tuesday, 9th April 2019, 12:55 pm
Updated Tuesday, 9th April 2019, 12:59 pm
The car park at Hartlepool's Morrisons store.

Last year Hartlepool Borough Council planning bosses refused proposals from Morrisons to create a new Timpson’s store in the supermarket’s car park in Clarence Road.

A report from the planning bosses said they rejected the proposals as they ‘would have a detrimental impact on the general character of the area’.

An appeal was lodged against the council decision to refuse the plans by Morrisons, but the national Planning Inspectorate moved to dismiss the appeal.

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The plans for the ‘Timpson at Morrisons’ would have seen the small unit being built in the car park of the supermarket in Clarence Road.

In 2016 Timpson agreed a deal with Morrisons to take over the running of its dry cleaning operations at 116 stores and offer key cutting, shoe and watch repairs, and phone and tablet repair.

Following a site visit, a report completed by John Dowsett from the Planning Inspectorate ruled the planning committee was right to refuse the proposals.

In a report, he said: “The appellant recognises that the proposed building would be visible from all directions when entering the car park and approaching the store’s entrance.

“As a consequence, the proposed development, despite its modest scale, would be harmful to the character and appearance of the area.

“I do not find the argument that the proposed business would not be viable if the unit were located elsewhere a compelling one as the wider site is not so extensive that customers would be deterred from visiting another unit to access the services offered.

“I therefore conclude that the proposed development would cause harm to the character and appearance of the area.

“I conclude that the appeal should be dismissed.”

The application originally was determined by officer delegation with the agreement of the chair of planning committee in July 2018 and they ruled the plans to be an ‘unacceptable form of development’.

A report from Leigh Dalby, council planning officer, said: “The development fails to make the best use of the site, the proposed development has been sited with its only active frontage facing internally within the site.

“Therefore, it is considered that the proposal is of a sufficiently poor design to warrant refusal.”

The plans were for the building to be situated 25metres east of the supermarket entrance and to be 2.7metres by 6.7metres, with a height of 2.5metres, and three car parking bays would have been lost.

The Planning Inspectorate is a Government agency which deals with planning appeals after a decision has been made by local authorities.

Nic Marko , Local Democracy Reporting Service