POLICY CCW8: RETAINING AND ENHANCING CONVENIENCE SHOPS OUTSIDE CATERHAM VALLEY AND CATERHAM HILL TOWN CENTRES

Proposals which result in the loss of existing local and neighbourhood convenience shops will be resisted unless the applicant has demonstrated that there is no reasonable prospect of the site or premises being used for other retail or community uses due to lack of viability.
In such circumstances, applicants will be expected to demonstrate that the existing use is no longer viable evidenced by a viability report and market assessment that demonstrates that the site has been marketed for not less than 12 months and freely exposed to the market for alternative retail or community uses. The report should indicate the marketing undertaken and evidence all expressions of interest and the
steps taken to evaluate these.
The costs associated to assess such marketing and viability reports are to be met by the applicant including the costs incurred by the local planning authority associated with undertaking a peer review of the viability assessment to assess its veracity.
Proposals to improve the quality and appearance of shop fronts and signage and which have appropriate regard to Policy CCW6 will be supported.

Purpose

The retail centres within the Neighbourhood area represent a focal point for the local communities, providing not only retail opportunities, but also a valuable social, leisure and recreational component. Asspending habits evolve and competition from the internet and nearby centres intensifies, it will become increasingly important to make sure that the levers are in place to sustain these areas as vibrant and viable spaces that meet the needs of the resident population, surrounding communities and visitors to the area. The policies in this section seek to achieve that. Changes to national permitted development rights in 2020 increase the flexibility to change uses in commercial centres while retaining facilities to serve to local population. Caterham Valley and Caterham-on-the-Hill
In accordance with the NPPF the Neighbourhood Plan can provide policy for local convenience retail provision, which does not include Caterham Valley or Caterham-on-the-Hill centres. To cover these two centres and in parallel with the preparation of the Neighbourhood Plan, the Caterham Town Centre Masterplan was developed by TDC. It seeks to regenerate the retail centres at Caterham Valley and Caterham-on-the-Hill, was adopted as a Supplementary Planning Document in March 2018 and sets out a vision for this area. The SPD provides protective measures relating to maintaining primary and secondary retail frontages and through the application of viability testing where changes of use are proposed for non-retail uses, in Caterham Valley and Caterham on the Hill Town Centres respectively. It has been developed with the Neighbourhood Plan group, local businesses and the community, building on the Caterham Valley and Hill Design Statement of 2017. The principal objectives are:
• To improve the quality and quantity of the retail offer
• To improve the leisure, culture and community offer in the town centre
• To improve the environment for pedestrians and improve accessibility
• To improve the quality of short stay and long stay car parking
• To provide high quality living within the town centre
• To create business opportunities for existing and start-up businesses to grow
Whilst there are significant concerns about the scale and detail of development proposed, the vision for a mix of uses, which will encourage footfall throughout the day and into the evening, is generally supported by the Neighbourhood Plan.

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