Pavers wants to stay in York with an expanded distribution centre. Credit: Turner Creative for Pavers

Pavers finally secures York go-ahead

The shoe retailer has won approval to expand at Northminster Business Park, where it will grow its logistics complex by 118,000 sq ft.

The Popplewell site earmarked for the expansion space  is agricultural grazing land, and sits within the Green Belt.

Around a year ago, the plans had come forward as part of a package with a £9m office block to be included in Pavers’ investment at the site, but that part of the project was later removed, replaced by the launch of a hunt for alternative office space in the city

Now home to 45 businesses, Northminster was originally built in 1997 and has already been expanded to accommodate Pavers, a key local employer. In planning terms, the site is open to interpretation: land to the south of the park is allocated for employment in the Local Plan, but this specific plot is not, while the plan as a whole is under review anyway.

Pavers has been based at the site since 2001. Originally occupying a 43,000 sq ft shed, the firm has subsequently expanded its footprint by 47,000 sq ft.

The proposed warehouse space would add a further 118,521 sq ft. and represents an update of previous plans for 121,000 sq ft – additional parking provision was also cut from 110 spaces to 75 in the revised plans.

The shoe company’s professional team is led by planning consultancy O’Neill Associates, and also includes HTC Architects, Barnes Associates, The Landscape Partnership, Bryan G Hall, Dudleys Consulting Engineers, MAB Environment & Ecology, and Sanderson Weatherall.

As outlined by planning officers, “Recent growth has seen expansion of Pavers’ retail portfolio to over 180 stores and increases in online sales by over 700%. Storage requirements are expected to double. The company has already reached capacity at Northminster Business Park; current operations rely on off-site storage facilities.”

And while office staff can be more easily based off-site, logistical requirements mean one site works best for the distribution centre: “The applicant’s position is that additional warehouse facilities are essential on-site; the company’s automated logistics system requires a single warehouse facility for efficient business operations.” Southward expansion is ruled out due to a DPD facility now being operational.

York & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, an influential voice in the city, had backed the expansion. Following the verdict, president Sarah Czarnecki said: “The approval of this job creating, revenue generating expansion is fantastic news and just the sort of investment we want to see in York.

“Pavers is a York success story, and it is wonderful to see them continuing their journey here in the city.

“I congratulate both the management team of Pavers and City of York Council on this news. It is pleasing to see such a pro-business and pro-investment attitude being displayed and I look forward to similar sentiments going forward.”

The plans can be viewed on City of York Council’s planning portal with the reference 23/00823/FULM.

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