Borsetshire Development Framework

Area Action Plan Development Plan Documents


National policy on retail (Planning Policy Statement – PPS6) focuses on a ‘town centre first’ approach, requiring local authorities to adopt a sequential approach when allocating sites for retail development.  This means preference is to be given to town centre sites, followed by edge of centre sites and finally out of centre sites in locations with access by a choice of means of transport.  This will ensure that development plans sustain and enhance the viability and vitality of existing centres. 

The town centre is the main retail focus of the Borough. In addition, however, Wellingborough has two out-of-centre shopping developments at Victoria Park (including a supermarket) and Castlefield together with a further supermarket at the junction of Wilby Way and Northampton Road.

out of centre developments

The current Local Plan also allocates an area at the Embankment for quasi retail uses such as workshops with a retail element, caravan and car/motorbike sales (which require large open display areas).  This site is seen as appropriate for such retail elements that cannot be readily accommodated within either the industrial estates or the town centre.  However, account has to be taken of the impact of proposals on the vitality and viability of the town centre.

Under PPS6, retail development (other than small scale local shops) that is now proposed out of the town centre must meet various tests: need, appropriate scale, that there are no appropriate sites within or on the edge of the town centre, that it will not have an adverse impact on the vitality and viability of the town centre and that the site proposed is accessible by a choice of means of transport. The current local plan provides that if a site outside the town centre is justified it must be accessible, contribute to minimising travel costs and, wherever possible, be in close association with existing or proposed retail facilities.

If retail proposals come forward on out of centre sites and meet the required tests noted above, what approach should be taken to their location?


A: A general policy based on accessibility, similar to the existing local plan.

B: Specific sites should be allocated – in which case which sites / areas are most appropriate?

It is recognised that for sustainable communities to succeed some level of retail uses must be provided close to where people live.   A network of local centres is important in order to provide easily accessible shopping to meet people’s day-to-day needs, and should be the focus for investment in more accessible local services.  The current Local Plan seeks to protect existing shops in local centres in the town and within villages as they maintain vitality and provide an important service for local residents. In many cases to succeed this needs to be supported by other strategies and/or may require a flexible approach in dealing with proposals such as conversions or extensions designed to improve the shop’s viability.

Local centres are defined in PPS6 as those that include a range of small shops of a local nature, serving a small catchment. Typically, local centres might include, amongst other shops, a small supermarket, a newsagent, a sub-post office and a pharmacy. Other facilities could include a hot-food takeaway and launderette. They are, however, unlikely to be appropriate locations for large scale new development. It is possible for the local planning authority to impose indicative upper limits for the scale of development to be permitted in individual centres. In the rural area such an approach may reflect the differing roles of individual villages (refer to the section on the “role of village settlements”)

Should policies in the new plan seek to protect and encourage local retail provision in residential areas / villages?

What other strategies might be used to support this?

Do any of the current local centres need to be expanded to include other uses as well as shops? If yes, which areas and what type of services are required?

Should any existing local centres be redeveloped for other uses? If so, which ones?

Are there any areas of the town that need a local centre and currently are not provided with one?

Might indicative upper limits to the scale of development permissible in local centres / villages be useful?