Waveney Local Plan

Oulton Broad District Shopping Centre

2.56 Oulton Broad District Shopping Centre is located around Bridge Road in Oulton Broad. The area is shared between the Broads Authority and Waveney District Council's Local Planning Authority areas. There are around 50 retail units currently in operation (2016 monitoring data).

2.57 The Retail and Leisure Needs Assessment (2016) and annual monitoring suggests Oulton Broad should continue to be identified as a 'District Centre' where shops and services will be protected and prevented from changing to other uses. Planning Policy Statement 4 (PPS4) 'Planning for Sustainable Economic Growth' (now deleted), defines District Centres as a 'group of shops, separate from the town centre, usually containing at least one supermarket or superstore, and a range of non-retail services, such as banks, building societies and restaurants, as well as local public facilities such as a library'. There is currently no definition for District Centres in the National Planning Policy Guidance or the Framework.

2.58 The Retail and Leisure Needs Assessment says that the area has a relatively good mix of independent stores for its size but an under provision of banks and building societies. It was principally identified as a 'top-up' food shopping destination in the household survey. The assessment suggests that there is potential to increase the convenience food offer as well as increase the number of cafes and restaurants to cater for the needs of the local population and the wider tourist market. The assessment also identifies the potential to increase the linkages between the centre and the Broads.

2.59 The increase in the number of takeaways has been a cause for concern in Oulton Broad, with late opening times often being associated with anti-social behaviour that harms the amenity of local residents and the environmental quality of the area. Concern has been raised that a continuation of this trend could reduce the centre's retail provision making it less attractive for local residents and thereby potentially affecting the viability of the remaining shops.

2.60 Policy WLP2.10 is included within both the Waveney District Council Local Plan and the Broads Local Plan to reflect the centre's location across both planning authority areas. The policy intends to protect the existing shopping and service offer in the Centre and promote new restaurants and cafes where they would not undermine the viability of the Centre. The policy resists changes of use to A4 (drinking establishments) and A5 (hot food takeaways) in order to address amenity concerns.

2.61 It is acknowledged that some changes of use can take place without planning permission under the Permitted Development Order 2015 which allows some flexibility of uses within the area (dependent on size, final proposed land use and whether the site is located in a Conservation Area or not). The inability of the Council to control such proposals highlights the need to give particular scrutiny to proposals that continue to require the submission of a planning application.  

Policy WLP2.10 - Oulton Broad District Shopping Centre

Oulton Broad District Shopping Centre is identified on the Policies Map.

Within the Oulton Broad District Shopping Centre proposals for changes of use of ground floor premises from use classes A1 (retail) and A2 (financial and professional services) to other non-retail uses including A4 (drinking establishments) and A5 (hot food takeaways) will not be permitted.

The following changes of use will only be permitted where either cumulatively or individually they have no significant adverse impact on the character, retail function and vitality and viability of the centre, residential amenity including noise, fumes, smell and litter, highway safety, parking and community safety:

  • From use classes A1 (retail) and A2 (financial and professional services) to A3 (restaurants and cafes).
  • Other premises in the Oulton Broad District Shopping Centre to use classes A3 (restaurants and cafés), A4 (drinking establishments) and A5 (hot food takeaways)