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Fort William retail park wins planning consent

June 25 2015

Fort William retail park wins planning consent
Highland Council has given its backing to a £10m retail park on the outskirts of Fort William, with Marks & Spencer, Aldi and Home Bargains already confirmed as tenants.

Designed by The Harris Partnership the project will be finished with split faced blockwork, light grey stucco render and metal cladding panels, replacing an existing area of hard standing to the north of the town.

In their design statement the practice said: “The retail terrace is designed to ensure that the main elevation and active frontages face North Road. The elevation is designed to clearly delineate individual units by including separating elements of blockworkto define shopfront areas.

“The entrance elevation is designed as a curved fin wall, following the profile of the site. The fin wall extends beyond the building behind at either end to screen the service area to the north and less active elevations to the south.”

Construction is set to get underway on the North Road scheme early next year and open in time for Christmas 2016.


ella h
#1 Posted by ella h on 25 Jun 2015 at 11:29 AM
So good that all of the planning guidance against out of town retail has been followed, yet again. This will really help regenerate town centres. What is WRONG with Highland Council?? Is it so far away that they don't get the message that out of town is not good planning? Did the carrier pigeon not deliver it? Are they still in the 1980's? Look at inverness, what a mess...out of town retail, now an out of town uni, car parking everywhere... now Fort William. Both gateway destinations for the the Highlands and Islands and complete tips. Carbuncle them both.
Sir Ano
#2 Posted by Sir Ano on 25 Jun 2015 at 12:11 PM
another leach to draw the life out of a already struggling town centre.
#3 Posted by bobo on 25 Jun 2015 at 13:24 PM
seems as though the harris partnership must've knackered their server with those awesome renderings as trying to find out more about them their website fails to load.
D to the R
#4 Posted by D to the R on 25 Jun 2015 at 14:03 PM
These are the 60's modernist tower blocks of our generation ... architectural students and urban designers will guffaw in the future ... sadly though it isn't really that funny. Granting planning permission to this 'venacular' dross is criminal
#5 Posted by wonky on 25 Jun 2015 at 18:31 PM
Kinda sums up why UK culture lags so far behind our continental counterparts...abysmal town planning-parochial thinking-mediocre design. All round depressingly predictable.
Nairn's Bairn
#6 Posted by Nairn's Bairn on 26 Jun 2015 at 09:14 AM
Ella H, Wonky etc - do some research please before making knee-jerk statements. The planning department recommended refusal as the application was against policy. Councillors though overrulled in the face of local support for it. Politics over planning, again. I can only assume the same councillors have a secret plan to bring shoppers to Fort William town centre.

The consent was actually granted in January this year, ref 14/02865/FUL - not sure why it's making it to UR now.
#7 Posted by Billy on 26 Jun 2015 at 09:28 AM
We need to stop the process of killing off our town centres with out of town malls. Surely we have reached saturation point. Empty shops in town centres would suggest this.
Greig Ross
#8 Posted by Greig Ross on 26 Jun 2015 at 12:25 PM
ella h
#9 Posted by ella h on 26 Jun 2015 at 18:15 PM
If 6 is right, then we need to educate our councillors and people about design and planning. How often do people lament the loss of high streets? Always. If you want a good high street this stuff doesn't work. We need solutions for retail that can work in town centres. Bigger shops and less car dependence. This isn't easy , especially in rural locations, but we can't keep delivering this stuff - especially in the most beautiful parts of the country.
#10 Posted by Mike on 30 Jun 2015 at 10:46 AM
Ah educating councillors. You can do this till you are blue in the face, if locals are in favour of something, then the Councillors more often than not will bow to the pressure. That is democracy for you. No amount of education on the merits and benefits of saving town centres will help there. Waitrose in Helensburgh, M&S in Kirkcaldy, the new retail park at Corn exchange in Edinburgh and now Fort William. The developers are savvy to getting at the Councillors and incredibly savvy to driving support locally through petitions and the media - they have the resources to do so.

The situation is not helped by the toothless sequential approach either. The judgements of the supreme court in Tesco vs Dundee City Council (2012) is appropriate. The court determined that "when considering whether a sequentially-preferable site is suitable, it must be suitable for the development proposed by the applicant. Consideration of sequentially preferable sites must take place in the real world in which developers seek to operate, not some artificial world in which they have no interest in doing. If the courts make a ruling like that then what real chance to planners have in promoting constrained and often sub-standard town centre locations?

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