Allerdale Council happy for vacant unit to be used to sell food, drink and tobacco

Liam Waite, Local Democracy Reporter

Derwent Retail Park, Workington. (Photo: Google)

Food, drink and tobacco can be sold from a unit on a Workington retail park, Allerdale Council’s planners have agreed.

The council’s development panel agreed in October to the principle of the former Comet store on Derwent Drive being used to sell convenience goods but that was dependent on an agreement being signed to ensure the floorspace being used to sell such products on the wider retail park site would not be increasing.

That agreement, which is intended to ensure the viability of shops in Workington town centre, had not been completed within six months so the application came back before the panel this week and was approved again, with a view to the agreement being completed in the near future.

Cllr Allan Daniels said: “I propose we accept the recommendation and go forward on this. That site’s been empty for a long time and it would be nice to see some retail activity.”

The motion was seconded by Cllr Alan Smith and members of the panel voted unanimously in favour of the recommendation.

Simon Sharp, the council’s planning and building control manager, said the coronavirus pandemic had had an impact on the completion of the agreement, among other circumstances.

He added that it was felt that, with the agreement in place, it was acceptable for the unit to be brought back into use rather than a proposed business moving onto the council-owned Central Way car park site, which has been identified in the council’s local plan for new retail use.

Julie White, who was speaking at the virtual meeting on behalf of applicant LS Workington Limited, said: “It was unfortunate we weren’t able to complete the section 106 agreement within the six-month deadline originally specified but we are now in a position to move that forward and we have agreed the wording with our officers.”

It was also confirmed that discussions are under way with a business to move into the unit.