RPS is a leading player in the highly competitive retail market with an enviable track record for planning and development success.

Our pragmatic and co-ordinated Architecture, Environment, Transport, Engineering, Retail Planning and Retail Impact Assessment services provide clients with sustainable solutions to planning, environmental and construction problems on challenging sites.

Our aesthetically exciting, cost-effective designs which raise value and maximise the site’s potential have resulted in strong working relationships with major developers and retail clients who trust our appreciation of the key factors which make a site work.

We provide advice on all forms of retail and commercial developments including regional shopping centres, town centre developments, retail shopping parks and stand-alone units. We prepare retail studies for private and public sector clients throughout the UK and provide expert advice at planning inquiries and promote retail developments through development plans.

Case Studies


Aldi, Bury St Edmunds Aldi, Bury St Edmunds

Lookers Plc

Through extensive community consultation, RPS secured planning permission to build an Aldi foodstore on an out of centre site.

As the site was not in a preferred location, the Council refused any pre-application discussions, however after extensive community consultation RPS submitted a planning application for consideration. Our application included a Planning Statement, Statement of Community Involvement, Design and Access Statement, Transport Assessment and Retail Report.

Despite the site being vacant for ten years, the landowner and a rival discount food retailer objected to the application on the basis of a nearby proposed development. RPS successfully argued against the objections and received support from the Council and local Ward Member who requested the application be considered at Committee.

An updated Retail Study delayed the application but we successfully submitted comments to the new version and argued that the application site was available for development unlike the objector’s favoured site.

After in-depth negotiation, the Council conceded that, in policy terms, the application site was sequentially the best available site and recommended to approve the application. Once a committee date had been set and all matters had been addressed, RPS lobbied local members to foster their support for the proposal.

Members of the Development Control Committee voted unanimously in favour of giving planning permission to the proposed discount food store subject to conditions and an S106 agreement.


Boots, national

RPS CgMs are Boots UK Limited’s retained planning consultants.

We provide assistance to Boots as part of the ongoing management and improvement of its large town centre store portfolio. Key elements of this work are set out below:

Providing planning assistance in the implementation of Boots in-store GP, Dentistry, Chiropody, and LASIK services. This has involved obtaining planning permission for necessary changes of use within its existing stores to accommodate these non-A1 uses where the Local Planning Authority has not accepted them as ancillary uses.

Providing strategic advice on Boots new brand format as well as obtaining advertisement consent for revised signage as part of ongoing Boots rebranding programme. RPS CgMs has also provided strategy advice on problematic sites, negotiating with the Local Planning Authority to achieve consent, and where necessary, achieving consent via appeal.

Work undertaken:

Planning History investigations

Co-ordination and progression of planning application submissions

Negotiation and liaison with local authority planning officers

Gloucester Quays

Gloucester Quays, Gloucester Gloucester Quays, Gloucester

Gloucester Quays LLP (Peel Holdings & British Waterways)

RPS provided Building Services designs, Lift Engineering services and Utilities Management for this Designer Outlet Centre as part of Gloucester's Quayside refurbishment programme.

Gloucester Quays includes over 110 retail and restaurant outlets in both covered and pedestrianised environments, a hotel and four storeys of car parking, complete with transport links to the approach of the Centre.

As part of the re-generation of the site, the public road network has been reorganised involving road closures, pedestrianisation, and the provision of a new road crossing to the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal.

A totally new utilities infrastructure was developed, which involved both practical and commercial discussions with each of the utility providers.

A 1.2 km directional drilling exercise was undertaken providing the utility companies with new links between their infrastructure networks on each side of the canal.

The building services provide a naturally ventilated, zero heated, enclosed Centre with either direct utility service connections or a common landlords distribution system.


Asda Supercentre, Milton Keynes Mailbox, Birmingham

Brockton Capital LLP & Milligan Developments

Located in the centre of Birmingham, the redevelopment of the Mailbox comprises 296,000ft2 of office accommodation, 38 retail units, 15 restaurants, 144 apartments, two hotels with 279 bedrooms between them and 686 car parking spaces. Everyman will also have a three-screen, 12,000 ft2 boutique cinema.

The work will also see the retail mall at The Mailbox enclosed and sky-lit, to create an urban room with new fa├žades, finishes and store frontages. Significant existing tenants include the likes of the BBC, Network Rail, Harvey Nichols, Nicky Clarke, Emporio Armani, Hugo Boss, and Malmaison Hotel.

Trying to ensure that the project keeps on programme and within budget whilst trying to keep 200 residents happy and ensuring that the retail units, eateries and office workers can still operate fully will always be a challenge, complex temporary wayfinding helps us maintain a high quality operational mixed-use environment as well as the ability to open up key interface locations within the existing structure.

Other challenges included de-risking the project during pre-procurement as well as a challenging procurement and construction programme, ways that we have overcome these challenges has been to establish a high level contact and good relationship with the contractor and encouraging proactive involvement. Regular look ahead meetings are also essential and are held with the contractor and operational teams to aid the complex phasing, sequencing and tenant liaison.

DBK were acquired by RPS in April 2016.

Marks & Spencers

Marks & Spencers, Wolstanton Retail Park, Newcastle-under-Lyme Marks & Spencers, Wolstanton Retail Park, Newcastle-under-Lyme

Marks & Spencer Group and McLagan Investments Ltd

RPS secured planning consent and prepared a Retail Impact Assessment for an extension to Wolstanton Retail Park providing a major new retail store.

The scheme includes a new two-storey 140,000ft2 Marks & Spencer store, improvements to the existing car park and comprehensive new landscaping. The new store will complement the existing Asda, Homebase and Matalan stores on the Retail Park.

RPS submitted a detailed application despite the development involving a significant amount of new out-of-centre shopping floorspace. Negotiations with the relevant Local Authorities succeeded in gaining both officer and member support, despite both Council’s being actively involved in promoting new retail development as part of regeneration schemes in each of their respective town and city centres.

RPS also provided Architectural and Landscape designs for the scheme together with the associated Flood Risk Assessment. Computer generated imagery and extensive 3D site modelling was used to give the client a broad range of visualisations to aid the design process and illustrate the Design and Access Statement.

RPS provided BREEAM services, Ecology and Air Quality advice and completed a Noise Assessment, a Topographical Survey.


Westfield, Stratford City, London Westfield, Stratford City, London

Westfield Shoppingtowns Ltd

RPS provided planning support for Europe's largest urban shopping centre, one of the largest urban regeneration projects in the UK.

RPS have supported the project since the start, securing outline planning permission and continually providing strategic planning advice and dedicated project management. The development includes approximately 160,000m2 of retail floorspace, 26,300m2 of leisure floorspace, 12,200m2 of Grade A office floorspace and 28,400m2 of hotel floorspace.

RPS has secured planning consents for the majority of the built structure, including the main shopping mall and the two anchor stores: a John Lewis (with a Waitrose at basement level) and a Marks & Spencer.

The development was subject to intense consultation in order that the development secured high quality design, access for all and high standards in environmental sustainability.

RPS have also secured key infrastructure, comprising roads, bridges and a high quality pedestrian realm, complemented by soft landscaping, ‘digital’ art and appropriate way finding to ensure the area is integrated with its surrounding neighbours, such as the Olympic Park.

As well as Westfield, RPS have worked with both the London Borough of Newham and the Olympic Planning Authority to ensure that each application met all of the group’s aspirations.