By Chris Young | LDRS

Bradford based supermarket giant Morrisons has submitted planning permission to allow it to retain three “retail pods” installed at a Bradford store almost a year ago.

The retrospective planning application, for a vape shop, barber and WeBuyAnyCar booth, says work to install the businesses in the car park of Idle branch of Morrisons was completed in January 2020, without any planning permission in place.

The company says that it submitted the application last month after it became aware that permission was needed for the three businesses.

Although the normal planning process is for people to apply for planning permission and build once it is granted, it is legal to apply for retrospective planning permission after work has already been completed.

However, retrospective developments have proved controversial in recent years, and are often frowned upon by planning authorities.

They can also prove a high risk strategy – as applicants may have to reverse the work if the plans are refused.

The units take up a total of eight spaces in the car park, and Morrisons says a number of parking spaces have been informally allocated for customers of the three businesses.

The WeBuyAnyCar unit is for people to drop off cars they have sold to the company, before the vehicles are collected from the site and sent to auction.

The application says: “Morrisons would also add that offer a service which is highly valued by Morrison’s customers and firmly aligns with their plan to bring more and more popular and useful services to the communities that they serve. There is no disruption to their normal operation.”

It says the barbers shop – Headcase, is a “convenient location for customers who has either made a pre-arranged appointment or drop-in appointment.”

And the vape store unit, Vape Right, is “designed to be in a convenient location.”

The application says: “Careful consideration has been placed in the positioning of the pods to ensure that there is no disruption to vehicular and pedestrian circulation and that site will continue to operate as existing.

“The scheme seeks to revitalise the existing WM Morrisons car park by offering more choice to customers and generating new employment opportunities through the provision of new Head Case, Vape and WeBuyAnyCar pods.

“WM Morrisons hope that the advantages of this proposal as well as the overall benefits to the local community will be supported.”

When asked about why the plans were submitted almost a year after the work was completed, a Morrisons spokeswoman said: “Once we became aware of an issue with the PODs we immediately took steps to rectify it including submitting a planning application last year.

“We are now working with Bradford Council to ensure that we have the correct permissions in place as soon as possible.”

A decision on the application, and a linked one for signage on the units is expected next month.