Next Dundee superstore plan rejected over trade concerns

Next's proposed new Kingsway West store
Next’s proposed new Kingsway West store

Dundee City Council has rejected plans for a new £5.4 million Next megastore for a second time over fears the development could adversely impact trade in the city centre.

The retailer had planned on opening a new home and garden centre at the Kingsway West Retail Park but the project was rejected by city councillors by 16 votes to 11.

Councillors heard from officials who recommended permission to build the new store was refused as it contravened the Tayplan Strategic Development Plan, which restricts the sale of goods at retail parks to protect the town centre, and also the city’s local development plan regarding the location of new retail developments.

A report from the planning officials suggested that Next estimates the store would draw £1.83 million of trade from its city centre premises in the Overgate Centre and at Gallagher Retail Park.

It added: “Such a scenario would have a significant damaging impact on the vitality and viability of the city centre and district centres.

“This would be particularly unacceptable at a time where it is noted that vacancy rates in Dundee city centre are higher than the Scottish average.

“In addition, members should not that should Next occupy the unit, it is their intention to close the Next store at Gallagher Retail Park where clothing and footwear may be sold.”

The Tesco supermarket at Kingsway West does sell clothes and shoes, but only has a limited amount of space where it is allowed to sell non-food items. It is also not regarded as a “main flagship clothing and footwear shopping destination”.

Next claims its proposed new store would create 125 jobs and said it would keep its Overgate store open until at least 2024 if given the green light.

But the report to councillors concluded: “Whilst the development would likely result in investment and the creation of additional jobs at the retail park, and this weighs in favour of the development, the nature of the store proposed would lead to such a damaging impact on the city centre, district centres and commercial centres that the economic benefits would not justify a departure from the development plan.”

Dundee Civic Trust also lodged a formal objection to the proposal over concerns about its impact on the city centre.

Earlier plans for a redeveloped store were rejected back in 2013.

Following the committee ruling, a spokesman for Next refused to comment on the decision on whether the firm would be appealing.

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