The former Bridge Cross Garage site. Picture: Google Streetview
The former Bridge Cross Garage site. Picture: Google Streetview

A report has questioned the viability of retail and leisure developments in Burntwood town centre due to changes in shopping habits and competition from other locations.

Lichfield District Council’s planning committee will decide next week whether to approve a proposed care home on the former site of Bridge Cross Garage on Cannock Road.

The proposals had been called in for debate by Cllr Darren Ennis, Labour representative for Chasetown ward, over concerns that the land was earmarked for leisure and retail uses in the Burntwood Neighbourhood Plan.

But a planning officer’s report said a study presented by the developers had suggested there had been little appetite for such schemes.

“The application is supported by a retail assessment which sets out the history of the site, unsuccessful marketing since the 1990s, and the lack of viability of approved schemes.

“The report highlights changing trends in retail and an overall shift towards internet shopping, which at the time of the report accounted for around a third of all sales.

“There are a number of vacant units in Burntwood town centre, both within the shopping precinct and along the Cannock Road.

“The report concludes that there is a lack of retail or leisure demand, there is existing retail vacant units in the vicinity of the site, there are viability issues associated with new build proposals and the site suffers from significant competition in retail terms, from sites such as the Cannock Chase outlet.”

Planning report

The development proposes a three storey, 78-bed care home is built on the land.

The report has recommended that the scheme is given the go-ahead, despite concerns over the change from the proposals for the site laid out in the Neighbourhood Plan.

“The application site clearly falls within the designated town centre for Burntwood and forms part of a wider area designated in both the Local Plan and the Burntwood Neighbourhood Plan for a mixed use development.

“In particular, Burntwood Neighbourhood Plan provides support for large format retail and leisure uses, however the policy does not limit the site to these uses.

“The application site comprises a small portion of the overall allocation, albeit it does occupy the main frontage of the site along Cannock Road.”

Planning report

The meeting of Lichfield District Council’s planning committee to decide whether the scheme should be approved will take place on 4th July

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