Why decision to refuse plans for cafe and takeaway in South Shields has been upheld

A council decision to refuse plans for a cafe and takeaway in South Shields has been upheld by a government-appointed planning inspector.

Wednesday, 17th March 2021, 1:24 pm
199 Prince Edward Road, South Shields Picture: Google

In July 2020, South Tyneside Council’s Planning Committee rejected plans for 199 Prince Edward Road in the Harton ward.

This included changing the use of a former loan shop to a cafe serving hot and cold food both on and off the premises.

The main reason for refusal included the plans clashing with a policy which aims to avoid the “overconcentration of hot food uses” in district shopping centres.

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199 Prince Edward Road, South Shields Picture: Google

According to a report prepared for councillors at the time, approving the cafe would have resulted in more than two hot food outlets being adjacent to each other.

Following the refusal, the applicant lodged an appeal with the Planning Inspectorate.

Almost a year later, a government-appointed planning inspector has dismissed the appeal and sided with the council.

In a decision notice published last month, the inspector said the main issue included the effect of the proposal on the vitality and viability of Harton Nook District Shopping Centre.

Reference was made to policy DM3 of the Local Development Framework Development Management Policies (LDFDMP) relating to hot food uses.

With the aim of maintaining and enhancing the viability of town centres, the policy promotes retail over other uses such as hot food to avoid an overconcentration of such uses in certain areas.

The inspector’s report reads: “While the evidence suggests that the unit has been empty for a number of years, and was previously in use as a loan shop, I have not been supplied with any comprehensive marketing details for the unit and I cannot therefore be certain that it does not have a future in retail use.

“Given the importance of retail to the vitality of the centre, and the protection and promotion of retail that Policy DM3 offers, I do not consider that the required evidence which would justify the change of use is before me.

“I therefore conclude that the proposal would have a detrimental impact on the vitality and viability of the centre and would therefore fail to accord with Policy DM3 of the LDFDMP.”

The report was discussed at a meeting of South Tyneside Council’s Planning Committee this week (March 15, 2021) during an update on planning appeals.

Councillor Neil Maxwell, who represents the Harton ward, welcomed the appeal decision.

“I hope the council uses this as some sort of precedent for further hot food takeaway applicants to hopefully turn them down,” he said.

“Not just at the Nook but the rest of the town as well.”

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