Retail approvals granted at Bescot Retail Park, Walsall

CSJ Brooke Smith have successfully secured two landmark consents for ROM Capital Group, owner of the Bescot Retail Park, strategically located close to Junction 9 of the M6 motorway, off the Walsall ring road, adjacent to the home of Walsall FC. The proposals, resisted by Walsall Council on retail impact grounds, were upheld at appeal and will now allow Argos and Aldi to move into the park.

The applications took the form of Section 73 proposals requesting changes to restrictions on what could be sold at the retail park, in order to allow Argos and Aldi to take up residence. Despite the overwhelming benefit that the two national retailers would bring to the site, securing approval proved to be a protracted process with the Council unable to determine a decision. The appeals were pursued on grounds of non-determination which culminated in a Public Inquiry earlier this year.

The Inspector’s support for the scheme rested on the significant benefits the two operators could bring to the site and the fact these proposals were in line with the revised national guidance within PPS4. Aldi are now able to take up a 1,477m² unit, while Argos Extra are able to take up a 1,854m² unit, providing a catalogue retail service to complement the existing ranges offered by Argos in Walsall town centre.

Rom have already implemented a number of improvements at the park, including new signage, building facades and improved landscaping as well as obtaining consent for a new security building, but getting consent for a catalogue trader and discount food operator will been that there is a new lease of life for the area. The anticipated addition of Aldi and Argos will create significant employment, approximately 200 jobs.

ROM Capital acquired the park in May 2008 in a c. £22.5 million deal. The asset is part of ROM Capital’s UK Opportunity Fund, which was launched in late 2007 with a focus on secondary commercial property assets that offered scope for improvement through active asset management techniques.