New Home Bargains and Aldi stores set to open in Portsmouth, following the downsizing of an existing B&Q
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The city council has granted planning permission to Pompey Centre Real Estate Limited to subdivide the existing B&Q unit into four, in response to concerns the larger building did not meet modern retail requirements.
'The current existing B&Q unit is a relic of the past retail age,' a statement submitted with its application said. 'With the rise of online shopping, large-scale shopping units are dying out with smaller, more efficient units taking their place.
'This proposal not only preserves existing jobs, giving B&Q a more sustainable business model to move forward but also provides space for three new retail units, providing both jobs and services to a large, local community while not imposing on the other units surrounding the local area.'
Originally only Aldi was confirmed as one of the companies moving into the new units - opening its third store in the city - but Home Bargains has since also been revealed as an incoming tenant. A third tenant has yet to be finalised.
But the application was opposed by Tesco which said retail assessments submitted as part of the application were out-of-date and that consideration should instead be made for the provision of more city centre supermarkets.
'There remains a risk of non-delivery bearing in mind the speculative nature of much of the scheme,' planning consultant Martin Robeson said on behalf of the chain. 'That would continue to provide a lack of any positive signal of inward investment from this site.'
An updated assessment was submitted by planning agent Vail Williams in February in response to the criticism, and its partner David Ramsay said Tesco had failed to 'acknowledge any of the positive impacts or benefits that would be generated as a direct result of the proposed development'.
He said the scheme would 'rightsize' B&Q by allowing it to remain financially viable in a smaller unit, boost the retail offer in the city, facilitate 'substantial' investment in the city, and create new jobs.
'In reaching its decision on the overall acceptability, the council should afford weight to these benefits as part of considering the planning balance,' he said. 'The weight to be afforded to these benefits is a matter of judgement for the decision maker but the applicant considers that the weight should be substantial.'
This position was backed by the city council which granted conditional approval for the development last Monday.