ALTERATIONS have approval at the vacant former Borders book store on The Coliseum at Cheshire Oaks to improve its marketability.
The Equitable Life Assurance Company told planning officers at Cheshire West and Chester Council it was seeking approval to install a 1,204 sq m mezzanine at the unit, previously occupied by Borders and Starbucks.
The store would also be subdivided although this does not need planning permission.
The unit, with 2,333 sq m of space, including an existing mezzanine, is the largest on the retail park, according to a report.
It has been empty since Borders closed in 2009 following a period of trading under administration.
Equitable Life has confirmed that following "discrete marketing" while Borders was still open and further marketing since, no retailers are interested in taking the entire unit or in taking part of the unit without the addition of mezzanine floor space.
Although there are no firm commitments from prospective occupiers at present, Equitable Life points out any retailer would require a permission for mezzanine floor space before signing up.
Chester West and Chester’s strategic planning committee heard at a County Hall meeting that retailers who might be interested include River Island, Sports Direct, Arcadia, Monsoon and T K Maxx.
There is the possibility that nearby Next, which has applied for a smaller mezzanine, could take one of the two new units to avoid loss of trade whilst the mezzanine, if approved, is installed.
Recommending the application should be approved, planning officers suggest it is likely that Borders could remain empty for some time without mezzanine floor space.
Quick reoccupation would bring replacement and potentially additional jobs in an area of high unemployment.
They do not believe the mezzanine would affect trade in the town centre and point out other stores on The Coliseum want to see the unit occupied.
Councillors agreed the application.