Applications for main town centre uses, i.e. retail, leisure, office or arts/tourism uses, as set out in para. 1.8 of Planning Policy Statement 6: Planning for Town Centres (March 2005), should be accompanied by evidence of the need for the proposal where this would be in an edge of centre or out of centre location, and where it is not in accordance with an up to date development plan document strategy. Both quantitative and qualitative information relating to the need for the development should be included for retail or leisure applications. It is not necessary to demonstrate the need for retail proposals within the primary shopping area or for other main town centre uses located within the town centre.
Evidence should also be provided to show that the development is of an appropriate scale, that there are no sequentially preferable sites, that the location is accessible and that there are no unacceptable impacts on existing centres.
Impact assessments are required for all main town centre uses over 2,500 square metres gross floorspace. Smaller schemes may also be required to provide similar information if it is considered that the development would have a significant impact on a smaller district and local centre within its catchment area. It should provide an assessment of the development's impact on existing centres, taking into account recently completed developments and outstanding permissions.