PROPOSALS for a mixed use outlet at a former factory in Christchurch have finally been approved - more than 900 days after the current occupants opened for business.

The Christchurch Emporium shopping village at Avon Works has been open since April 2015, but without consent to use the premises in its current state.

After a drawn out planning application process, which included deferral from a Christchurch Borough Council planning committee meeting earlier this year, the proposals were unanimously approved by committee members last Thursday, October 12.

The ground floor of the building, located off Bridge Street, now has permission to operate as a mixed use facility comprising of shop and retail warehouse, cafe, ancillary office and storage facilities.

Conditions of the permission restrict the usage to two years specifically for the applicants and members added that the floor plan as set out in the plans be maintained throughout this period.

However, further plans will need to be submitted to the council for a micro brewery on the first floor of the building, which was previously Mostyn's workshop.

In addition, now the retail outlet has permission, the planning committee were told discussions would take place with the applicants regarding the volume of signage for "Christchurch Shopping Village" located at the Bridge Street entrance to the site.

Members heard how by granting the application, the council would be able to implement appropriate measures to ensure the applicants complied with policy.

Cllr Peter Hall proposed a motion of approval as set out by the planning officer's report with the additional condition on the ground floor layout of the building.

This received the full support of members at the meeting.

In giving his backing to granting the application, Cllr Trevor Watts said: "I think the council are making the right decision.

"The officers have looked into it and are putting us in the best situation.

"I think we are doing the right thing in the right way."

The size of the schemes retail floorspace, 1044sqm, normally requires a full retail impact assessment (RIA).

However, an RIA meeting all the criteria set out in planning policy was not submitted in the plans.

This was raised to the planning department by a policy officer, but as the floorspace was only marginally over the council's 1000sqm threshold, development management manger Lynda King told councillors the lack of a full RIA was permissible in the circumstances.