PLANS to knock down Stratford’s B&Q shop have been given the go-ahead.
Capital Hill Partnership applied to Stratford District Council for permission to demolish the existing Maybird Centre store and turn it into three new retail units.
They said the move was necessary to bring the standard of the units in line with those at the opposite end of the retail park.
But the plans faced opposition from residents and current occupants B&Q, who raised concerns about the overall scheme.
Store bosses argued knocking the building down would lead to the loss of 49 jobs and said there was no guarantee of these jobs being replaced as part of the proposed development.
They also maintained the company would be unlikely to find another centrally-located premises, which may lead to B&Q having to relocate its store while the company said a potential closure would force customers to travel further afield to obtain similar goods.
And with no stores signed up to take over the units, they said it could mean empty shops on the retail park.
But despite this, members of the authority’s planning committee followed officers’ recommendations – granting permission for the application at a meeting on Wednesday.
Chairman, Coun Mark Cargill said it had been a difficult decision but maintained it was the right one.
He added: “We knew there was opposition to the plans to knock down B&Q and it was a finely-balanced decision.
“The issue was well debated by everyone on the planning committee and although the building has been in the town a long time, we felt granting permission was the right thing to do from a business perspective.”
A B&Q spokesman told The Observer: “We are awaiting formal notification of the decision and are disappointed to hear the application was approved.
“Our dedicated store team at B&Q Stratford have been committed to serving our customers in the local area for many years.
“We are reviewing the implications of the planning approval and will endeavour to work with the landlords to keep our store open for as long as possible.”
It is understood the new units will be placed on the open market with B&Q having the chance to bid for them.
The loss of B&Q follows the closure of Homebase back in 2014.