Policy E8: District and Local Centres

We will support the role of District Centres as the focus for communities in the surrounding areas in providing for everyday shopping and service needs as well as for some more specialist needs. Proposals for residential use of upper floors add to the liveliness of centres, and will be considered positively.

The following areas, as shown on the Policies Map, are designated as District Centres. For each, the Primary Shopping Area is the boundary of that Centre:

  1. Wharf Road, Ash
  2. Station Parade, East Horsley
  3. Ripley.

In order to strengthen the liveliness and economic resilience of the borough’s District Centres, retail developments consistent with the scale and function of that centre will be supported. Where no suitable sites are available, sites on the edge of designated centres will be considered. We will not apply this sequential approach to proposals for town centre uses of less than 100sq m (gross) in rural areas.

Retail and leisure proposals over 500sq m (gross) located outside of a local or district centre, and where the site is not allocated in the local plan must be supported by an impact assessment.

Proposals for new food takeaways within 500m of schools will not be accepted because of the potential negative impact on the health of school children.

Within the District Centres shown on the Policies Map, proposals for change of use of a ground floor shop (Use Class A1) to use for financial and professional services (Use Class A2) and/or food and drink (Use Class A3/A4/A5) will be permitted where all of the following criteria are met:

  • the proposal results in no more than two adjacent non-retail uses
  • the proposal results in no more than one-third of defined ground floor frontage units in permitted non-retail uses
  • the proposal will not result in loss of amenity in terms of noise, smell, litter or traffic generation, and
  • the proposal will not prejudice the character and appearance of the district centre and its immediate environment.

Exceptionally loss of shopping area uses (Class A) at ground floor level will be permitted, subject
to the above criteria, where the proposed use is appropriate to a District Centre.

Response: Part Object, Part Support

We think it is appropriate that these three district centres should support development consistent with the scale and function of the local centre. We think it is appropriate not to approve planning applications for main town centre uses over 100 sq m outside district centres – although this policy could and should be more clearly articulated. We do NOT support consideration of sites on the edge of district centres for town centre uses.

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