Sites and Policies Plan Consultation Draft

Document Section Sites and Policies Plan Consultation Draft Retailing, Town, District and Local Centres DM64-69 [View all comments on this section]
Comment ID 4601665//3
Respondent Leigh & Glennie Ltd [View all comments by this respondent]
Response Date 12 Apr 2013
Current Status Accepted

Strong objection is raised to Policy DM69, on behalf of Hutton Garden Centre.

There is no policy justification to warrant seeking to artificially limit the amount of floorspace at a garden centre or shop in the countryside to selling the majority of goods to produce grown on site or made within 30 miles. The simple fact is that great majority of garden centre plants are now not grown on site, nor are ancillary items made within 30m.

There is no national planning policy basis to single out rural shops or garden centres to such a draconian, inequitable and unworkable policy: no where in the NPPF is there any policy guidance that allows an LPA to dictate where a retail business must buy its produce from. Hence, if there is no policy in the NPPF for artificially interfering with the market for any retail enterprise, it is wrong for North Somerset to try to do this for rural shops and garden centres.

Hutton Garden Centre - like the vast majority of garden centres and rural shops - purchases plants from outside suppliers. They simply cannot grow the amount or quality of produce on their limited land, or compete with large external suppliers. There is simply no produce to fill an arbitrary 50% floorspace figure.

And the remaining 50% floorspace could, of course, never be filled by local produce: it is blindingly obvious when walking around any garden centre in the country that the produce (fertilizers, tools, seeds, gardening books, chemicals, Barbour jackets, bird food, etc, etc) cannot have originated from within 30 miles of that garden centre.

This policy is not supported by any robust evidence. It is entirely contrary to national guidance. It would potentially ruin rural shops and garden centres who may wish to expand, and so increase local employment. Thus it is directly contrary to the objectives of Section 1 of the NPPF, and specifically paragraph 28 (final bullet point). The policy as worded must not be included.