AN arts and crafts supplier is hoping to persuade the council to allow it to open in a store that is closing today (Friday).

Bensons for Beds is closing at 6pm and Hobbycraft is trying to convince planners to change the rules so it can move into the premises.

Now Hobbycraft, which has around 80 outlets nationwide, has applied to Somerset West and Taunton Council for a change to the Section 106 agreement imposed on the Hankridge retail site on the edge of Taunton.

The rule is intended to protect the town centre by only allowing the sale of goods "complementary to existing town centres rather than competing with them".

It says that items must generally be "bulky by nature, making them hard to carry or transport on public transport, and often requiring a particularly large unit to display the goods on offer".

Items that are allowed include DIY goods, furniture, garden products, vehicle goods and parts, electrical goods, and caravanning and camping equipment.

The Hobbycraft application says the firm is "the largest retailer of arts and crafts supplies in the UK" since it was founded in the mid-1990s, and the nearest other store is in Yeovil.

The firm stocks around 25,000 lines such as baking, painting, sewing and haberdashery, art supplies, paper crafts, knitting and framing and ready-to-make kits, as well as seasonal goods.

It is hoping the council will alter the rules so it can sell art, craft and hobby goods.

A spokesman for Hobbycraft, which generally operates from large out-of-town-centre superstores, said: "In practice the art, craft and hobby description includes a range of items, some of which are bulky and others that are not.

"In the former category are items such as sewing machines, quilts, sewing boxes and storage boxes generally, die cutting machines, models, notice boards, easels, lamps, frames and mountings.

"Additionally, customers will often buy a number of items, including bulky and non bulky items, which cannot easily be transported by car."

An application by Boots to trade from the same unit in 2011 was turned down as it was viewed as contrary to the Section 106 agreement.

And neighbouring Halfords had been keen to downsize and move into the unit, although it has now decided to stay put.

Bensons is closing because its company already has another store, Harveys, in Taunton, at Priory Fields.