The change in government policy to restrict out-of-town shopping is having a marked effect on the nature of retail proposals. However, there is still significant floorspace coming on stream from earlier approvals and some additional out-of-town schemes are being promoted.

Among the recent developments is the McArthur Glen factory outlet centre at the Naburn Hospital site, York. This scheme moves away from the 'village street' image associated with earlier outlet schemes and is a fully fledged covered shopping centre with 80 units and a foodcourt. There are proposals to extend it further.

Recent additions to Monks Cross, York, including the first out-of-town Woolworths, add greatly to the city's attractions.

At West Park, on the Ring Road to the north of Leeds city centre, an application has been made for 12,500 sq m (134,550 sq ft) of retail space as part of a mixed-use scheme. The application is being considered by the city council.

There are city- and town-centre sites that the authorities are putting forward as alternatives to out-of-town retailing. In Leeds city centre, for example, the officers identify various sites, including Union Street, Temple Street and the former planning department offices at St Anne's, as offering scope for mixed-use developments including retail.

To the south-east of Leeds, at Glasshoughton Colliery near Castleford, work is under way on another factory outlet centre that will provide 23,000 sq m (247,570 sq ft) of floorspace. At the entrance to the site, there are proposals for an ASDA store, and outline consent exists for leisure development.

The Drakehouse Retail Park (18,000 sq m/193,750 sq ft) is the most recent out-of-town scheme to open in Sheffield. However, the city council is restricting out-of-town schemes and has refused consent for a Morrisons supermarket at Healey, in the south-west of the city. It has also objected to a retail warehouse park proposal over the border in the Catcliffe area of Rotherham.

The redevelopment of the Marks & Spencer Meadowhall store is approved and, as part of a Section 106 Agreement, the city-centre M&S store is also to be improved. Consent for an increase of 2,800 sq m (30,140 sq ft) has been granted.

Elsewhere in the city centre, smaller redevelopments are identified but council officers are expecting more out-of-town proposals shortly.

Government policy is having an effect, but the retail industry continues to exploit emerging out-of-town opportunities. The scope to meet large-scale shopping needs within the central areas is clearly limited.

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