Blackburn pet food firm’s planned shop to face tight controls

A NEW warehouse for a booming Blackburn business will have the use of a proposed shop tightly controlled to protect retailers in the town centre.

Conditions will be imposed on Pet’s Choice’s new complex at its Lower Philips Road base on the Whitebirk Industrial Estate.

The job-creating expansion scheme is set for approval by Blackburn with Darwen Councils planning committee on Thursday night.

Founded in 1987 the firm supplies brands dating back to the 19th century including Davies Dog Food, which began production in 1881 and Bob Martin, founded in the 1890s.

The expansion of its site is to accommodate the transfer of production to Blackburn from Germany and France and aims to create 60 new full-time jobs.

A planning officer’s report to councilors recommends granting permission with 23 conditions.

One specifies: “The retail floorspace hereby approved shall only be used for the sale of food products manufactured by Pets Choice, at its manufacturing facility, and not as an independent shop unit.”

This is imposed ‘to avoid any significant conflict with the council’s strategic retail policies relating to ‘main town centers uses’, that would undermine retail provision within the town centers and district centres’.

The report says: “The application site is located on the Whitebirk Industrial Estate, accessed from Lower Philips Road.

“The 15-acre site is bounded by the Leeds Liverpool Canal to the south east and other industrial uses to the North-East and South-West.

“A portion of the site is used as a warehouse packaging and dispatching products to Pets Choice retail stores.

“The remaining parcel of land is undeveloped.

“Pets Choice are a leading pet food manufacturer based in Blackburn, Lancashire, with a worldwide customer base.

“Planning permission is sought for the erection of a single storey 120,000 square foot warehouse building with three-storey offices, change of use of the existing packing building to an ancillary retail building.

“The unit is intended to operate on Thursday to Saturday for wholesalers and the general public.

“Sunday to Wednesday the space will be used as a ‘showroom’ to allow the business to ‘mock-up’ shelves to illustrate to the retailers what their shelves would look like, and what space they are expected to have.

“On a Tuesday and Wednesday the retail space will form staff sales operations, which are currently performed out of the existing warehouse, where employees pick up previously ordered products at the site.

“Staff are currently permitted to do so from the manufacturing building.

“Relocating the staff sales to the proposed trade counter site will simplify the Pets Choice operations across their sites.”

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