Retail Impact Assessments

What is a Retail Impact Assessment?

A retail impact assessment is a report that is prepared to support a planning application for the provision of a significant retail development. A Retail Impact Assessment analyses the location of the proposed development within its physical and planning policy context. This document identifies the catchment area/population, expenditure available and assesses the performance of retail centres within the catchment. It will also analyse the proposed location and demonstrate whether it complies with the requirements of the sequential test.

Why do I need a Retail Impact Assessment?

The Retail Planning Guidelines for Planning Authorities produced by the DoEHLG requires that the impact of all significant retail development be assessed in line with specified criteria. In assessing the suitability of a significant retail development Planning Authorities will require the provision of a retail impact assessment and failure to demonstrate compliance with planning policy and the provisions of the Retail Planning Guidelines will result in unfavourable consideration of the application.

What is involved in the preparation of a Retail Impact Assessment?

There are six steps involved in Retail Impact Assessment
1. The Identification of catchment/study area
2. Estimation of expenditure available within the catchment/study area
3. Estimation of the turnover of existing centres within the catchment/study area,
4. Estimation of the turnover of the proposed development
5. Estimation of quantum of retail spending available which will be diverted from existing centres
6. Estimation of trade diversion.
* A Retail Impact Statement will also include details of how the proposed development satisfies the sequential test in terms of location of the proposal.

What is the sequential test?

The Retail Planning Guidelines state that the preferred location for retail development is within the established town centre, should there be no town centre sites available an edge-of-centre location could be considered. It is only in the absence of the availability of town centre and edge of centre sites that an out-of-centre site could be considered. The analysis of the suitability any site under these criteria is called the sequential test and details of this should be included in any Retail Impact Statement.

How long does it take to carry out a Retail Impact Assessment?

The timeframe involved in the preparation of a Retail Impact Assessment is dependent on the nature of the scheme proposed and the availability of the required information. Larger retail schemes which give rise to more complex justification planning issues may require more detailed surveys of floor space and shopper preferences which could lengthen the process.

How much will preparing a Retail Impact Statement cost?

The cost of preparing a Retail Impact Statement is dependent on a variety of factors including the nature/character of the proposed development, its location and the availability of information. McCarthy Keville O’Sullivan can provide a comprehensive and competitive fee proposal on a case-by-case basis once details of the proposed development and scope of works have been set out
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