CLOTHING chain Next plans to create a travel agency and café in its Castlepoint store.

The firm has sought assurance from Bournemouth council that it does not require planning permission for the ground floor development, which would fall under the same usage class.

A report by planning officer Julie Allington states: "The travel agency would be accessed within the store and would involve internal alterations only and has been proposed to enhance the offer of the store and help the store to remain viable.

"There are existing examples of similar set ups in other stores which contain coffee shops and travel exchanges at both Castlepoint and the town centre."

She said the new facilities would take up less than one per cent of the retail floor space and therefore no planning permission would be required.

In March, Next announced an 8.1 per cent drop in profits and 0.5 per cent drop in sales. Its Bournemouth town centre store closed in 2016.

Chief executive Lord Simon Wolfson said a "difficult year" had "prompted us to take a fresh look at almost everything we do".