Fifth Home Bargains coming to Preston amid concern over lack of retail diversity

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A fifth Home Bargains is set to open in the Preston area after councillors gave the nod to the latest branch of the discount chain.

Members of Preston City Council’s planning committee approved the retailer’s bid to move into a vacant unit alongside the Currys store on Blackpool Road.

It will join Home Bargains' existing trio of Preston outlets - on the Queens Shopping Park, Deepdale Road and Market Place in the city centre - along with the branch just over the border in South Ribble on the Capitol Retail Park in Walton-le-Dale.

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Preston is something of a Home Bargains hotspotPreston is something of a Home Bargains hotspot
Preston is something of a Home Bargains hotspot

While the proposal was unanimously backed by the committee, one member raised the issue of “diversity” within the local retail scene.

Noting the number of Home Bargains already trading in and around Preston, Cllr Ben Ward said: “I’m slightly concerned we’re becoming a single-shop destination.”

The committee had been asked to consider a request to change the type of products permitted to be sold in the disused facility. It was most recently occupied by PC World, which is now housed within the Currys next door.

Currently – under permission granted when the two neighbouring units were first given the green light back in 2005 – some “ancillary” food sales are allowed, but they cannot take up more than five percent of the internal space. Home Bargains wanted clearance to use up to 30 percent of its new floorspace to sell food and drink.

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The former PC World on Blackpool Road in Deepdale will become Preston's latest Homes Bargains (image: Google)The former PC World on Blackpool Road in Deepdale will become Preston's latest Homes Bargains (image: Google)
The former PC World on Blackpool Road in Deepdale will become Preston's latest Homes Bargains (image: Google)

Planning officer Laura Holden reminded members that “the principle” of a retail outlet in the location had been established almost 20 years ago - and that they were being asked only to adjudicate on whether the proposed change to the conditions governing its trading was “acceptable or not”.

In its application to town hall planners, Homes Bargains requested - and received - permission for the sale of “health and beauty products; electrical goods and accessories; DIY and garden products and accessories; camping products and related items; medicines; baby products; household products; toys and games; pets, pet foods and other pet supplies; home furnishings and ornaments; seasonal products; food and drink products…and other items ancillary to these products”.

A special planning test – known as a ‘sequential assessment’ – has been carried out in an attempt to demonstrate that no other suitable locations in nearby district shopping centres or the city centre were available for the proposed new outlet.

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