Policy RET2 Retail Impact Assessment
All applications including extensions for retail development and town centre uses above the thresholds identified below, must be accompanied by a Retail Impact Assessment (RIA) where the proposal is located outside the town centre.
Above 750sq. m gross external area outside Ballymena and Larne Town Centre
Above 500sq. m gross external area outside Carrickfergus Town Centre and small towns
In the case of small towns, an assessment of retail impact is required in relation to the relevant Main Town centre within its catchment area
Outside town centres, permission may be granted for a small scale convenience shop which do not exceed 100sq. m gross external area, where it can be demonstrated that:
it meets a defined local need which cannot be met within an existing centre; and
it will not adversely affect the vitality and viability of existing centres within its catchment.
The Retail Impact Assessment should provide a proportionate response to the proposal being sought and should incorporate an assessment of need, impact and the sequential approach.
Justification and Amplification
A Retail Impact Assessment is a report that is prepared to support a planning application for the provision of a significant retail development. A Retail Impact Assessment analyses the location of the proposed development within its physical and planning policy context. This document identifies the catchment area/population, expenditure available and assesses the performance of retail centres within the catchment. It will also analyse the proposed location and demonstrate whether it complies with the requirements of the sequential test.
As the average unit size in Ballymena and Larne town centres in 2018 was 263sq. m and 202sq. m respectively, the proposed RIA threshold of 750sq. m gross external area is deemed to be appropriate and in keeping with the existing scale of retail development in these towns. The average unit size in Carrickfergus in 2018 was 187sq. m so the proposed RIA threshold of 500sq. m gross external area is deemed appropriate.
Local shops can deliver an important service for the community by providing locally accessible, every day shopping needs. By their very nature, local shops are small scale convenience shops, often providing a secondary ‘top-up’ shopping function.
Refer to paragraph 6.290 of the SPPS to view the factors to be addressed in a Retail Impact Assessment.