The arrival of a Home Bargains store in Gillingham has moved one step closer after town councillors backed revised plans for a new retail unit.
Home Bargains, which sells home and garden goods, beauty products, toys among other items, was originally granted planning permission by Dorset Council in November 2021 to build the store on the Kingsmead Business Park next to the new fuel station and diagonally opposite Aldi.
But since then there has been little visible activity concerning the store, which it is hoped will generate up to 60 local jobs.
However, last night members of Gillingham Town Council’s planning committee were asked to consider a slightly-revised application for the same site.
The new application, which slightly reduces the height of the retail unit and loses a few parking slots, was unanimously approved by committee members.
Councillor David Walsh said he was ‘very pleased’ that a new business was coming into the town.
While Councillor Sharon Cullingford said she was disappointed at the loss of some car park spaces she, too, supported the arrival of a new retailer. ‘It creates employment and the more footfall that we get into the town the more likely we are to get other shops to come as well,’ she told fellow councillors.
And committee member and current mayor Councillor Barry Von Clemens said the modified plans fitted the site well and he said he was pleased to see that ‘areas allocated as employment land are being used for those reasons’.
A planning statement on behalf of the company said that the nearest Home Bargains store is currently in Trowbridge, more than 18 miles away. ‘Occupation of the unit by HB will [consequently] lead to laudable benefits including improvements to consumer choice, together with job creation, and substantial private sector investment,’ it said. The new store would ‘improve retail choice’, the statement added.
In its initial application in 2021 the company said the new unit would ‘primarily’ be a non-food store, with a maximum of 30 percent of the retail area set aside for food and drink.
The application will now go to the planning authority, Dorset Council.