DEVELOPERS responsible for the application to turn an unused warehouse at Plymouth Road in Tavistock into a Pets at Home store have said that the new store could provide up to 12 jobs for the town.
Since the application was lodged, local residents, organisations and business owners have raised concerns that, should the chain get the go-ahead, it could set a precedent for other businesses to move to other locations, having a knock-on effect to the town centre.
Quod, the agent working on behalf of owners of the warehouse Harding and Sons Ltd, has since said that a Pets at Home store would contribute to the local economy.
Tim Rainbird, director of Quod, also said that while nothing had yet been confirmed, it had also been discussed that Majestic Wines could take a second retail unit next door to the proposed Pets at Home outlet.
Mr Rainbird added: ‘Harding and Sons own the freehold of the vacant warehouse unit and currently operate four Fairway Furniture stores in Devon and Cornwall, including a store in Tavistock, on Plymouth Road. The subject site has been vacant since April 2013 following a short period of occupation whilst Fairway Furniture carried out a £600,000 refurbishment of their existing store. It is therefore sitting economically inactive and contributes nothing to the local economy and the submitted marketing evidence demonstrated that there is very little demand for the unit in its current planning use as a warehouse.
‘Harding and Sons have always had the intention of bringing the building back into sustainable economic use; however, previous interest from prospective tenants was tempered by the uncertainty surrounding the Tesco application. Following the grant of that permission, interest has resurfaced which has resulted in the submission of the current application for two bulky goods retail units.
Heads of terms have been agreed with Pets at Home to take one of the units, but a retailer for the second is not yet confirmed, albeit Majestic Wines has been closely linked.’
Mr Rainbird said that the company was confident the development would not weaken business within the town centre.
He added: ‘First and foremost the borough council’s own retail study recognises that Tavistock retail park offers an opportunity to accommodate larger format retail units selling bulky goods which cannot otherwise be located within the town centre. The proposal achieves just this. Whilst there will be some limited overlap in the product offer at the application and the town centre (similar to Morrisons and Tesco) the two retail offers will perform a very different role and function. The two retail destinations will complement one another and continue to successfully trade side by side, as the town previously experienced with Focus DIY (another bulky goods retailer with some overlap in product offer to the town centre) and now with Tesco. Morrisons has of course traded for many years without harming the town centre and we can see no evidence to suggest that the current application, which focuses on bulky goods retailing would be any different.’
Mr Rainbird continued: ‘I should add that as a local family-owned company with a longstanding and very successful retail business in Tavistock, Harding and Sons would not put forward a proposal that would undermine the town centre. Harding and Sons are reliant on the success of the wider town as a whole for its business to thrive and in pursuing the current application they are confident that this is good news for business in Tavistock, both inside and outside of the town centre.
‘As a company, they have for 40 years consistently supported the interests of the town centre and local community. Overall the application is good news for Tavistock and will instill further investor confidence in the town.’
The deadline for representations to the council regarding the application is June 16.
To see the plans for yourself visit www.westdevon.gov.uk/searchlanding and enter the planning reference number 0971/16. This portal can also be used to show support or objection for the plans.
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