Rushden Lakes - Expert Witness
RUSHDEN LAKES, NENE VALLEY, NORTHAMPTONSHIRE
CLIENT: LXB RETAIL PROPERTIES PLC
INSTRUCTION: EXPERT WITNESS
Graham Chase appearing as the Commercial Property Expert Witness at the “Call In” Planning Public Inquiry
Held over a period of several days in June & July 2013 Graham Chase attended the “Call In” planning inquiry into the proposal to develop retail, leisure and community facilities on wasteland and a redundant ski-slope surrounding Rushden Lakes.
The key consideration was the impact of the proposal on the established surrounding shopping centres of Northampton, Wellingborough, Kettering, Corby, Higham Ferres and Rushden.
The evidence given by Graham Chase focussed on the commercial profile of the established centres, the potential to develop sequentially preferable sites, retailer demand, supply and alternative accommodation availability, viability and deliverability of the scheme should planning permission be granted. In undertaking this exercise it was also necessary to investigate proposals in rival centres to establish their viability and deliverability. In particular, this iinvolved an appraisal of the potential for the redevelopment of the Grosvenor Shopping Centre in Northampton and the likelihood of it being a realistic project, given the background to the proposal against current market conditions.
Limited time was available for Graham to prepare his case but his first consideration was to consider the position and confirm to the client that in his professional opinion he was able to support the case as put. This involved a degree of speculative involvement, inspections and assessments. Within three days of being instructed, Graham was able to confirm he was satisfied that the elements of the case that he was being asked to support reflected his own independent opinion. Subsequently Graham submitted his proof of evidence in the form of a rebuttal and attended the hearing over four days, giving evidence from the witness box.
The principle parties involved were as follows:
FOR THE APPLICANT:
Christopher Katkowski QC and Instructed by Denton UKMEA LLP
Richard Moules of Counsel
David Bird BSc CEng MICE
Graham Chase FRICS FCIARB FRSA FINST CPD
Colin Burnett BA(Hons) MRTPI
John Rhodes BSc MRICS
FOR THE LOCAL PLANNING AUTHORITY:
Ian Dove QC and Hugh Richards Instructed by East Northamptonshire Council
James Wilson BA (Hons) DipTP DMS MRTPI
Keith Nutter BSc (Hons) DipTP MRTPI
FOR THE CONSORTIUM OF OBJECTING LOCAL AUTHORITIES:
Morag Ellis QC and Hugh Instructed by Kettering, Northampton and Corby
Flanagan of Counsel Borough Councils
Matthew Whiteley BA (Hons) DipTP MRTPI
Paul Lewin BA (Hons) DipTP MRTPI
Susan Garbutt BA (Hons) DipTP MRTPI
Chris Goddard BA (Hons) BPI MRTPI
FOR LEGAL AND GENERAL PROPERTY
Russell Harris QC and
Reuben Taylor of Counsel Instructed by Deloittes
David Hunter-Yeats BEng CEng MICE FCIHT CMILT
Robin Denness FRICS
Matthew Jones BSc (Hons) DipTP MRTPI AIEMA
The Secretary of state approved the inspectors report and granted planning permission on 11th June 2104 for development not to exceed:
(a) 43,289 square metres gross internal floorspace (inclusive of the external sales and display space associated with the garden centre) within Use Class A1 of the Town and Country Planning Use Classes Order
(b) 26,747 square metres net sales area (of which no more than 929 sqm shall be used for the sale of convenience goods)
(c) a 112 bed hotel, a creche (181 square metres gross internal floorpsace) and a Leisure Club (1,456 square metres gross internal floorspace)
(d) two lakeside restaurants (each being 464 square metres gross internal floorspace) and a drive-thru restaurant/coffee shop (186 square metres gross internal floorspace
(e) a lakeside visitor centre and a boathouse (each being 289 sqm gross internal floorspace).
(f) 12 metres in height from finished floor level to parapet level (and 14m including rooftop plant enclosure).