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Home Bargains bids to expand store at Christchurch Retail Park

DISCOUNT chain Home Bargains is seeking permission to extend its store into the neighbouring unit at Christchurch Retail Park.

A planning application is seeking an “amalgamation” with the former Harveys store and “relaxation” of the rules governing what can be sold from it, writes Josh Wright of the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

It said the scheme would “secure the long-term occupation” of the vacant unit while also allowing it to expand its product range.

Home Bargains wants to push into the space formerly occupied by Harveys at Christchurch Retail Park (pic: Google)
Home Bargains wants to push into the space formerly occupied by Harveys at Christchurch Retail Park (pic: Google)

Furniture store Harveys was based from the unit in the Barrack Road business park until the chain went into administration in June last year, leaving it vacant since then.

Now property investment firm St James Place Property Unit Trust, a part of Orchard Street Investment Management, has applied for approval of plans to allow it to be used for the expansion of Home Bargains.

According to the planning application, the expanded Home Bargains store would provide 70 jobs and work to create it would cost about £850,000.

It added that a wide product range was “essential” for making the shop financially viable.

“The proposals will secure the long-term occupation of [the unit] and will allow Home Bargains to upsize into an amalgamated adjoining vacant unit,” said a statement submitted with the application by consultancy Montagu Evans.

“The proposed amalgamation of the units will allow Home Bargains to implement its full business model,” it added. “The proposal will result in an increase depth within the existing product ranges.”

Its proposals will see the overall floorspace across the two units decrease with the removal of the mezzanine floor from the Harveys building.

The application also proposes loosening planning conditions on the unit which date back to the construction of the retail park and restrict the type of goods that can be sold.

Similar requests were made in 2013 when Home Bargains first took over its unit, allowing it to sell clothing and pharmaceutical items “provided these form a minor part… of any retail activity”.

The application will be considered by council planning officers in the coming weeks.

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