Hobbycraft set to open a store in Exeter as council plans are submitted

Arts and crafts superstore chain Hobbycraft is set to open a store at Rydon Lane Retail Park in Exeter.

Plans have been submitted by the owners of the Rydon Lane Retail Park which would enable the sale of arts and crafts items to take place from Unit 6, currently occupied by Carpetright.

The current use of the premises is restricted to the sale of bulky goods, and goods and services for the construction, repair, maintenance and improvements of home, garden and motor vehicles.

This application, submitted to Exeter City Council, seeks to amend the goods condition, so as to allow Hobbycraft to occupy Unit 6.

And although the unit is currently occupied by Carpetright, a statement with the application says: “The applicant expects Carpetright to shortly vacant the premises.
“The unit was one of several stores that Carpetright has indicated that it intends to close. Accordingly, the application proposals respond to the imminent void which will be created by Carpetright’s departure from the unit.”

The covering letter with the application, submitted by The Royal London Mutual Insurance Society Ltd – the owners of Rydon Lane Retail Park – adds: “The application is submitted so as to allow Hobbycraft, the leading arts and crafts retailer in the UK, to occupy the unit.

“The stores are designed to support and inspire an ever expanding variety of crafts. Hobbycraft seek to provide everything required for art, knitting and crochet, haberdashery, paper art, wedding and party gifts, baking and jewellery making. In order to accommodate the requirements of Hobbycraft, it is required that condition 6 be extended to allow for the additional sale of arts and craft goods.

“This application has been made to the council so as to ensure the continuity of retailing on the application site and notably to prevent a retail unit becoming vacant. This application seeks extend the sale of goods on the application site, so as to accommodate the requirements of Hobbycraft.

“There are no suitable and vacant premises or sites that are capable of accommodating the application proposals even in a flexible form and the application proposals will maximise the prospect of re-use of the Carpetright unit, as opposed to the building becoming empty.”

Hobbycraft currently operate two stores in Devon – Plymouth and Kingsteignton – and 90 across the UK.

Last year, Carpetright announced it was closing 92 outlets across the UK with hundreds of jobs being axed, although the Exeter branch was not on the list of closures.

However, the planning application states that the company intends to close the store, although no date is mentioned.

Exeter City Council planners will determine the fate of the application to vary the consented conditions to allow arts and crafts items (including art material, craft kits, home baking items, confectionary, stationery, hobbies and party goods, materials and gifts) to be sold, as well as a separate application for the installation of a mezzanine floor, at a later date.

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