A DECISION could finally made on whether a shopping village in Christchurch should gain permission for change of use - 30 months after it first opened.

Since Christchurch Emporium launched in April 2015, there has been two general elections, the Brexit referendum, AFC Bournemouth have played two seasons in the Premier League and Princess Charlotte of Cambridge has celebrated two birthdays.

However, the indoor retail outlet, which includes a large area managed by vintage and antique traders Molly's Den, has never gained formal permission to operate.

The proposals to change the use of the former Mostyn's workshop from office and industrial to a mixed use comprising of shop and retail warehouse, cafe, ancillary office and storage facilities are recommended for approval in the planning officer's report.

The original application for the Avon Works site was submitted three months after Christchurch Emporium opened in 2015.

Despite not having permission, the shopping village has remained open for business at its location off Bridge Street.

After numerous delays and deferrals, the application is back before Christchurch Borough Council's planning committee on Thursday evening.

The report to committee says the application has been referred to members as the development management manager considers there to be an "increased level of interest" in the proposal.

In May, the plans were withdrawn from a planning committee meeting, and the authority said there was too little information provided to proceed.

The scheme has been amended with a new floor plan showing the cafe has moved downstairs, with the vacated first floor now a micro-brewery.

The council is awaiting a retrospective application for the Drop the Anchor Brewery.

The application lists the site with a floorspace greater than the 1000m2 threshold, meaning a retail impact assessment (RIA) is required.

The planning officer says the submitted RIA is "insufficiently comprehensive" to demonstrate an acceptable retail impact on Christchurch town centre.

However, in recommending approval of the application the report to members says: "Having considered all of the objections and consultation replies, in addition to all of the material planning considerations, the proposed change of use is considered to result in an acceptable form of development.

"No sequentially preferable sites have been identified, and the layout of the floor space and reconfiguration of the uses indicates that the retail use would only marginally exceed the 1000m2 trigger for requiring a Retail Impact Assessment.

"It is therefore considered unlikely that the proposal would result in any significant harm to the vitality and viability of the town centre."

Conditions listed in the report include limiting the mixed use at the emporium to two years, expiring on October 18, 2019, and allowing opening hours of 8am to 6pm Tuesday to Saturday and 10am to 4pm on Sunday.