Dozens of retail units could be lost at a Birmingham shopping centre under new plans submitted by its bosses, council chiefs fear.
Bosses at One Stop Shopping Centre in Perry Barr have sought planning permission for a 'flexible change of use' in relation to 52 of its units winding around from Sports Direct towards New Look.
It would mean they could use the units for non-food retail, financial and professional services or a cafe/restaurant without having to seek any further consent from Birmingham City Council.
Mall chiefs Perry Barr S.A.R.L. say the greater flexibility will make the centre more attractive to prospective tenants, enable them to refit units quicker, reduce the number of vacant shops, create more jobs and retain customers.
But development officials on the council have moved to block the changes and have recommended the proposal be rejected by the planning committee, which is due to rule on the application on Thursday, May 10.
Out of the 52 units in question 35 of them are used for retail - excluding two kiosks.
Officers warned if the move was permitted it would effectively allow centre bosses to change the use of all of those to something else.
They argued overall it could potentially see the proportion or retail units across the entire centre slashed to 48 per cent, when it needs to be at 55 per cent to be classed as a Primary Shopping Area.
Their report said: "This could lead to an over concentration and or clustering of non retail frontages with consequential impacts with respect to reducing active frontages e.g. restaurants could open at a later time than conventional retail units creating dead frontages at certain times of the day.
"Therefore, as a consequence if the proposal is approved, the real potential exists that the development could lead to an over concentration and or clustering of single non-retail uses to the detriment of the vitality and viability of the centre."
Centre bosses declared the move would not have a 'signficant impact' on the balance of retail and non-retail shops reassuring that the mall would not fall below its 55 per cent threshold.
On their behalf a statement from Cushman and Wakefield said: "The proposals will introduce greater flexibility for the landlord to introduce a wider range of town-centre appropriate uses within the shopping mall and reduce vacancy periods, creating more jobs and retaining more customers."
It added: "One Stop Shopping Centre and Perry Barr centre are seeking to keep pace with and compete with other district shopping centres in the locality.
"There is an increasing need to take a flexible approach to the way in which core retail areas evolve.
"The combination of recovery from poor economic conditions and changing shopping patterns has put greater pressure on town and city centres in all locations.
"As such void units within town and city centres can be increasingly hard to let, thus undermining the vitality and viability of these areas."