A business and retail park just outside Ulverston, due to be anchored by a 11,800 sq ft M&S Foodhall and an 18,500 sq ft Aldi, looks set to go ahead after being recommended for planning consent by South Lakeland Council.
The 7.8 acre site off the A590 includes two retail units, housing M&S and Aldi, three office or light industrial units, one for general industrial use, another for storage and distribution usage, and one unit for a veterinary practice.
The M&S unit was originally slated to be 11,000 sq ft with a 5,000 sq ft mezzanine level, making it 16,000 sq ft in total, but this has since been reduced to a single storey of 11,800 sq ft.
Overall, the development by Rawdon Property Group will provide nearly 90,000 sq ft of space.
Alongside M&S and Aldi, one of the 14,500 sq ft units has been taken by catering and meat supplier Lake District Farmers, while a 13,000 sq ft office unit has been earmarked for local business Furness Engineering & Technology.
The other units range from between 8,400 sq ft to 1,500 sq ft, and it is understood that most of these have occupiers lined up.
These are set to be delivered on a phased basis, with the two retail stores plus a number of offices and warehouse space to be delivered as phase one, with other buildings delivered over later phases.
The business park and retail units will be built around a blue light hub, hosting the area’s police, fire and ambulance services. Construction started on this part of the development late last year.
The proposals for the retail and business park have been recommended for approval when South Lakeland Council’s planning committee meets later this week.
Ulverston’s town council initially objected to the plans on the basis that the land was put forward for retail use, despite being earmarked for employment use under the area’s local plan. A previous application for a Sainsburys on the site was rejected.
However, the town council reversed its decision earlier this month at a meeting where members voted six to five to back the plans.
The plans were also backed by local residents, with 433 letters of support submitted to council planners with only 25 letters against. Overall, the proposals are expected to create around 300 jobs.
Recommending the proposals for approval, South Lakeland planning officers said the development was “finely balanced” with “a strong policy presumption against the retail element of the proposal, both on policy grounds and the very limited supply of allocated employment land in the Ulverston area”.
However, planners said: “In assessing the scheme overall it would appear that an exceptional case could be made for the retail element on the grounds that it would enable the delivery of the employment uses on the site and in turn deliver substantial public and economic benefits for Ulverston.”
The site has been designed by architect Damson Consultancy with How as planner.