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Next try again for Dumfries pod

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By Charlotte MacKay
Dumfries and West
Next try again for Dumfries pod

A RETAIL giant has lodged a third attempt to move to a retail park on the outskirts of Dumfries.

Last week Q+A Planning submitted an new application on behalf of Next to build a click and collect pod next to the Costa Coffee unit at Cuckoo Bridge Retail Park.

The fashion and homeware retailer closed their store at the Loreburne Centre almost two years ago after they were blocked from moving to a unit at Cuckoo Bridge Retail Park.

And last summer they were forced to pull the plug on their original pod plans at the retail park after Dumfries and Galloway Council planning officers raised serious concerns about the development.

The new application seeks to address some of the principle and design concerns that were raised about the original proposals.

It states that the facility would include a visitor reception area, a small stock holding area and staff accommodation and facilities.

The planning application form lists the pod as falling under a ‘sui generis’, or unique, usage class, whereas last summer’s application was listed as Class 6 – Storage and Distribution.

In addition, the revised pod would be four square metres smaller than the original design.

A planning statement submitted as part of the new application reads: “The pod will provide a facility designed to be used by visiting members of the public for the collection and return of goods ordered online through Next’s established online channel and for the storage of goods awaiting such collection.

“It is important to clarify that the proposed development does not provide a facility where the retail sale of goods can, or will, take place.

“No transactions or the exchange of money will occur.

“Furthermore, the collections pod will not contain any customer fitting rooms or any space where stock could be merchandised or displayed.

“For the avoidance of doubt, no consent for activity within Class 1 (Retail) is to be sought by this application.

“The applicant is happy to accept suitably worded conditions which reflect the intended nature and use of the pod.”

It concludes that Click and Collect facilities are becoming increasingly important in the retail industry.

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