Planning permission has been granted to demolish the Food Centre in Milton Keynes, in advance of another decision on what will replace it.
Council planners have used their delegated powers to give the nod to owner Hermes CMK to knock down the 30-year-old buildings on the 2.4 hectare site.
The owners have lodged two applications, one to demolish, and another to build four residential blocks providing about 900 new homes, and businesses, with 606 car parking spaces.
Roz Bird, of developer MEPC said: “On a scheme of this size the prior notice for demolition merely enables the team to front load the project plan. It has no impact on the main application which is still with the planning team for consideration.”
The redevelopment will bring to an end the possibility of the Food Centre being reopened with a large supermarket. Originally opened in 1988 it has been occupied by Sainsbury’s and Waitrose until those supermarkets relocated about eight years ago, leaving much of the building vacant.
Current occupants of the three-floor Food Centre include Iceland, RBS and a range of independent food outlets.
Since Sainsbury’s quit the Food Centre to move to the nearby Hub, there have been calls from the public for the building to be used for homeless accommodation.
But the food giant refused for years to quit their lease, paying rent and service charges to stop competitors from moving in.