The Co-operative Group: Hamworthy

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Full planning permission to secure an expanded store presence for the Co-operative Group

The Co-operative Group have long had a store presence in Hamworthy, Dorset.  When that store suffered irreparable fire damage, there was an opportunity to redevelop the site for a more contemporary store capable of meeting the local needs of residents.

To maintain a presence, the Co-operative Group re-opened a temporary store whilst a replacement store scheme could be developed.  The prominent location of the site and the context to the loss of the store brought about significant sensitivities to the redevelopment of the site and what a replacement development comprised and how it was designed.

As there was a struggle to reconcile these issues, NJL were instructed to provide specialist planning advice to secure full planning permission for a replacement scheme which could be developed in a cost effective manner but also was commercially feasible.


The preferred replacement store was to be smaller in size than the original but incorporated up to date store design requirements of the client which ensured the floorspace was efficient in stocking a wide range of products as well as comprised of a bespoke store design which was fitting to the prominent location in Hamworthy.

NJL were heavily involved in the design phase of the application and provided important strategic advice in developing the best scheme and which maximised the value of the client’s site.

Local political and community support was considered key to the success of a planning application.  NJL led the project team to prepare and present a public exhibition outlining the positive messages of redevelopment.

An application for the site was submitted in July 2013 following extensive negotiations with Poole Borough Council and engagement with the local community. This community engagement led to the inclusion of a local school’s artwork mural which wraps around the building. This positive process and front loading of the application process enabled the Council to support the proposals and the application was determined within 8 weeks.

The planning permission also included several challenging planning conditions reflective of the stringent development controls in place in the local area, not least the requirement to construct the site to BREEAM ‘Very Good’ standards. NJL’s in house sustainability team liaised with the Planning Officer and explained that a BREEAM assessment would be too onerous for the scheme in terms of viability, due to the complex issues associated with the site. NJL agreed that a detailed Sustainability Statement in support of the planning application would be sufficient to comply with the Council’s sustainable policy requirements. 

Removing the need for a BREEAM ‘Very Good’ assessment had obvious financial benefits for our client, but agreeing a number of sustainability enhancing features for the scheme enabled the client to deliver a sustainable development in-line with the Local Authority’s aspirations.

Positive Outcome

This project presented a significant challenge in maximising the re-use of a prominent site.  NJL were able to use their in house expertise to ensure the redevelopment was supported by the local community as well as ensuring a timely planning permission was secured.