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Town Centre and Retailing

13.21 The town centre boundary for Bury St Edmunds is shown on the Proposals Map. The St Edmundsbury Retail Appraisal (April 2001) evaluated the then current status of retailing in the town and examined the need for additional floorspace during the Local Plan period. The Appraisal concludes that the town centre was then a very vital and viable centre with limited opportunities to enhance its overall quality as it is in an extremely strong position. It was further recognised that, although Bury St Edmunds is unlikely to be able to compete with larger centres elsewhere in the region, there is a need to consolidate its position as a sub-regional centre.

13.22 The Appraisal estimated that, in order for the town to keep its market share, there is a need for approximately 15,000 sq. metres net (approximately 20,000 sq. metres gross) of additional town centre retail floorspace during the Local Plan period.

13.23 The Retail Appraisal recommends that up to half of the future requirement for Bury St Edmunds town centre (a maximum of 10,000 sq. metres gross) should be provided on the Town Centre Development Area and that this scale should only be breached if a redevelopment scheme can deliver a high quality department store. However, it was also recognised that any strengthening of the centre's future role must be done on a sensitive and gradual basis which will mean the town can keep and possibly enhance its current status without damaging the viability of existing multiple or, more importantly, local independent retailers.

13.24 The 2001 Retail Appraisal now requires to be updated, an exercise that will inform the Review LDF Plan. In the interim, the conclusions of the 2001 Appraisal will not be relied upon in this Plan.

 

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