4. Town Centres and Retail Development


To create vitality and viability within the Borough's town centres by creating a wide range of shops and services, a safe and attractive environment and easy access for all. Vibrant town centres will support the local economy, attract local people, visitors and new businesses and form the basis forcivic pride.


25.1 New retail and service development (Use Classes A1, A2, A3, A4, A5, D1, D2 and specified Sui Generis) should be located (in order of priority) (subject to Policy 26):

  1. Within a defined town centre, local shopping centre or local frontage.
  2. On an edge of centre allocated site (subject to Policy 27).
  3. On the edge of a defined town centre.
  4. Elsewhere outside of a defined town centre or local shopping centre, with preference given to sites which are or will be well served by a choice of means of transport and which are close to the centre and have a high likelihood of forming links with the centre.

25.2 Priority should be given to locating major development (those serving more than the local town) in Nelson or Colne. Any proposal for significant retail development should take into consideration the vitality and viability of neighbouring towns, districts or local centres. Barnoldswick can support larger development than Brierfield, Barrowford and Earby.

25.3 Development will only be allowed in areas 3 or 4 if the application is accompanied by a statement which proves:

25.4 The proposal would require extensive floorspace which cannot be accommodated within the preferred town centre or local shopping centre AND the proposal cannot be met on the allocated edge-of-centre retail site (Subject to Policy 27).

25.5 In addition development in areas 3 or 4 will be restricted to non-food retail (A1), D2 or Sui Generis uses (specified in Policy 27). Any ancillary uses (A2, A3, A4, A5, B1(a) and D1) must be confined to 25% of the total developable area. The development must be suitably and safely accessed and parking must be provided in line with the Car and Cycle Parking Standards.

25.6 Proposals not within town centres will be required to demonstrate that a need exists, following which the sequential approach will be applied to site selection. Any new service or retail development must be accessible by a choice of means of transport, including walking and cycling.

25.7 This policy applies to all proposals for retail or service development, unless the proposal relates to a village or rural location (this is the subject of Policy 28) or is for B1 (a) use which is covered in Policy 23. B1 (a) use is acceptable as an ancillary use on sites 3 and 4, where appropriate.

25.8 High vacancy rates have plagued a number of centres in Pendle and it is important to concentrate new retail and service development to improve the vitality and viability. Sui Generis uses appropriate in this instance are; theatre, amusement arcade, laundrette, tanning studio and taxi office. Equally it is important to sustain the rural hinterland (in line with Policy 28) and enhance the vitality and viability of the rural market towns.

25.9 Research work undertaken by Sheffield Hallam University (2001) indicates that out-of-town or edge-of-town development in Pendle has helped to retain expenditure within the Borough, however, out-of-town development can also have a negative impact on town centres, by diverting trade away from existing businesses. The sequential test is a means of concentrating new retail and service development in town centres and local shopping centres. Only if a development cannot be accommodated in the preferred town or local shopping centre41 should it be allowed at the edge-of-centre and then finally out-ofcentre in an existing shopping area. Edge-of-centre is defined as: for retail purposes; a location that is well connected to and within easy walking distance (i.e. up to 300 metres) of the primary shopping area, and for all other main town centre uses this is likely to be within 300 metres of a town centre boundary. For office development, locations outside the town centre but within 500 metres of a public transport interchange, including railway and bus stations, within the urban area should be considered as edge-of-centre locations for purposes of the sequential approach.

41 Nelson and Brierfield are considered as one shopping area (Sheffield Hallam, 2001) and any proposal must look for an appropriate site in BOTH centres before looking to edge of centre.

25.10 Nelson and Colne have the capacity for a wider range of shops and services and are better served by public transport. They can support larger developments than the smaller centres which should provide shops and services for the local area. Nelson, Colne and Barnoldswick are defined as town centres, whilst Brierfield, Barrowford and Earby are defined as local shopping centres. Any major development should not compromise the adjoining centres in respect of their vitality and viability and applications for development must be considered in light of any potential impacts.

25.11 Where existing commercial uses exist outside of defined town centres, local centres or local frontages (but within a settlement boundary), these commercial uses can be retained or replaced by some other commercial use of the same scale. Existing small shops or services outside of town centres, local shopping centres or local frontages should be allowed modest expansion (those businesses should have a net floorspace of less than 400 m2 and expansion should not exceed 50% of the existing floorspace). A choice of means of transport to any out of centre site is a key requirement of the sequential approach as outlined in PPS6: Planning for Town Centres.


26.1 Proposals to introduce non-shopping uses in town centres and local shopping centres outside of defined Primary or Secondary shopping frontages will be supported. The introduction of non-shopping uses to a defined shopping frontage in a town centre or local shopping centre or within a defined local shopping frontage will also be approved unless:

26.2 The proposal would result in the total proportion of non-shopping uses (including unimplemented valid planning permissions) exceeding 25% of a defined primary frontage or 50% of a defined secondary or local frontage (in terms of frontage length42).

26.3 Notwithstanding this, where it can be shown that a unit has remained vacant for over 3 years, permission for a non-shopping use will be granted.

26.4 The grant of planning permission for any non-shopping use will be dependent on the following being satisfactory:

  1. The hours of operation.
  2. Car parking and servicing provision.

26.5 Applications for hot-food take-aways must also supply information on:

  1. The emission of odours and provision of fume extraction (Policy 8).

42 Where a shopping frontage crosses a road, the road should not be counted in the calculation of the percentage of frontage occupied by non-shopping uses.

26.6 PPS6: Planning for Town Centres states that the vitality and viability of town centres depends on, amongst other things, retaining and developing a wide range of attractions and amenities. Different but complimentary uses during the day and in the evening, can reinforce each other, making town centres more attractive. However, an over concentration of non-shopping uses, such as hot food take-aways can cause local problems. Primary and Secondary shopping frontage designation has been applied to a 'core' shopping area within town centres and local shopping centres in Pendle. This policy seeks to protect the core shopping area from concentrations of non-shopping uses, whilst permitting such uses within the town centres on non-defined shopping frontages. Primary, Secondary and Local Shopping Frontages apply only at ground floor level.

26.7 Non-shopping uses acceptable on shopping frontages are defined as Use Classes A2, A3, A4, A5, B1 (a), D1, D2 and Sui Generis uses appropriate to a town centre location: theatre, amusement arcade, laundrette, taxi office or tanning studio. Residential uses and hotels (C1, C2 or C3) are not appropriate at ground floor level on defined shopping frontages, but will be permitted elsewhere in a town or local shopping centre. B1 (b and c) B2 and B8 uses are not appropriate in town centres or local shopping centres. A definition and summary of the Use Classes Order can be found in Appendix 4.

26.8 In instances where premises on defined shopping frontages have remained vacant for over 3 years, this policy allows permission to be granted for a non-shopping use (as specified above), under the assumption that a non-shopping use is better than a vacant property in seeking to improve or maintain vital and viable town centres. Pendle Borough Council continuously monitor town centre uses. Premises currently in a non-shopping use should be permitted change to another non-shopping use (subject to criteria 1-3 above).


27.1 Development will be permitted on the edge-of-centre allocated retail site:

  1. A. Clayton Street, Nelson.

    Provided that:

    1. No suitable town centre or local shopping centre site can be identified in Nelson or Brierfield.
    2. Development is for non-food retail (A1) and / or leisure development (D2 or specified Sui Generis).
    3. Any ancillary uses (A2, A3, A4, A5, B1 (a) or D1) are confined to 25% of the total developable area.
    4. The proposed development can be suitably accessed.
    5. Car and cycle parking is provided in line with the Car and Cycle Parking Standards (Appendix 2).

27.2 The Government wishes local planning authorities to take a positive approach in identifying additional sites for retail development. In accordance with the sequential approach outlined in Policy 25 all proposals for new retail or service development should look to locate within a defined town centre, local shopping centre or local shopping frontage. Many new retail developments in Pendle can be accommodated within existing buildings in those centres. In addition a number of larger sites exist, particularly in Nelson, which are suited to larger scale redevelopment.

27.3 In situations where no suitable site can be found in a town centre, local shopping centre or local frontage, edge-of-centre sites or out-of-centre existing shopping areas may be appropriate. Where a proposal is outside of a town centre, the application must demonstrate a proven need for the service or retail provision in line with Policy 25 and PPS6: Planning for Town Centres. The applicant must provide a statement illustrating their attempt to locate a suitable town centre site. For instances where no suitable site can be found, a site has been allocated for retail and services on the edge of Nelson. However, this site is only considered suitable for non-food retailing and leisure, together with any ancillary uses. For the purposes of part 2 above, specified Sui Generis uses are; theatre, amusement arcade or funfair, sale of fuel for motor vehicles, sale and display of motor vehicles.

27.4 The Lancashire Shopping Study (2003) notes that Burnley draws about 45% of high street shopping expenditure from Nelson and Colne. Similarly a study by Development, Land and Planning Consultants in conjunction with Sheffield Hallam University (2002) concludes that the majority of expenditure on personal and household goods (e.g. clothes, furniture and electrical) takes place outside the Borough. In this respect, the Study identifies a need for additional personal and household floorspace over and above that available in the Borough's centres in an attempt to try and retain some of the expenditure currently being lost. In contrast the Study recommends that no further convenience (food) floorspace be developed (unless it involves adaptation or restructuring within an existing town or local centre). Recent food-store developments have been successful at 'clawing' back expenditure which was previously spent outside the Borough, however the Study concludes that the introduction of further convenience floorspace could have an adverse impact on older floorspace in the town and local centres.


28.1 Proposals to introduce new retail (A1), service (A2, A3, A4, A5) and community facilities (D1, D2 or specified Sui Generis – launderette, sale of fuel for motor vehicles) to the villages will be supported where:

  1. The proposal is small scale to meet a demonstrable need,


  1. The proposal will re-use or convert an existing building.


  1. The proposal is for a change of use from one service to another or will provide for joint use of an existing village facility, such as a pub or church hall.

28.2 Only where no suitable buildings can be found will new build be considered. Any new building should be within the settlement boundary unless it can be shown that there are no suitable sites. In such instances the applicant must provide evidence of need and must show measurable public support through appropriate consultation with local people, both for the proposed facility and the chosen site.

28.3 Existing village facilities will be protected. Planning permission for change of use to a non community use will be resisted unless it can be proven that the premises have been vacant for over 1 year and have been actively marketed.

28.4 For the purposes of this policy, a village is defined as any settlement with a defined boundary outside of Nelson, Colne, Barnoldswick, Earby, Brierfield and Barrowford. People in villages increasingly rely on travelling to meet their everyday needs. Insufficient services, such as shops, pubs and post offices can threaten the viability of village communities. Tourist facilities are permitted in villages under Policy 40. In particular the low paid, unemployed, elderly and young people are most disadvantaged. Community initiatives based on the 'sharing' of existing facilities can be successful in providing a better service in rural areas. Examples include a small retail area in a village pub or the introduction of banking facilities to village post offices. Such initiatives will be supported.

28.5 There must be some control over the introduction of new shops and services, therefore there must be some demonstrable need. Demonstrable need can be shown where there is presently no village shop, pub, post office, community centre or bank (which ever is applicable to the application) or where a similar service was closed within a 1 year period or where there is over demand on existing facilities, for example, where there has been considerable new residential development which puts pressure on existing facilities. The introduction of new facilities (shops, pub, post office, bank or community centre) will be supported where the proposal seeks to utilise an existing building. Any new building should be within the settlement boundary and will only be acceptable outside a village boundary where the applicant can provide evidence of need (as above) and where the applicant has consulted local village people and gained support for both the proposed use and intended site.

28.6 The loss of community facilities in villages can affect quality of life. This policy seeks to prevent the change of use of shops, pubs etc. to non-community uses. For the purpose of protecting village facilities, non community use will be regarded as B1 (a) (b), (c), B2, B8, C2 or C3 and non-specified
Sui Generis (a definition and summary of the Use Classes Order can be found in Appendix 4). There are instances, however, where premises have lain vacant for a significant period of time, change of use will be granted on premises which have been vacant for over 1 year and where it can be shown that the premises have been adequately marketed for the original use.

28.7 In order to facilitate and foster the development of the rural economy there is a place for farm diversification within Pendle. This is dealt with in Policy 24.

Figure 5 – Town Centres and Retail Development Sustainability Balance


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