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Town Council ‘strongly objects’ to Smithfield café bid

Created on 13/07/2017 @ 06:07
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A bid to change the use for a proposed retail unit on the Smithfield retail park into a café will not be supported by Welshpool Town Council.

Last night the Planning Committee debated the application having received a number of objections to the plan from members of the public and business community, 25 of whom attended the meeting.

And in the end the decision was made to ‘strongly object’ to both the change of use and the splitting of the unit into three on the following grounds:

·      The proposal to change the use to A3 to create a café will adversely affect the Town Centre and is in direct conflict with the Welshpool Town Council Town Plan Policy D2.9 which states ‘The Town Council will take into account the effect of any application for change of use to restaurant, café or takeaway uses upon existing outlets when considering such applications’.

·      The litter created by such uses could be detrimental to the canal.

·      The planning permission granted for the original development specifically contained conditions 18 to 21 to restrict the size of units and uses to protect the town centre.  There are no material changes which should affect those conditions at that time.

·      The creation of 3 smaller units is a threat to the Town Centre where such small shops are located. The Town Council does not wish the centre of the town to move any further away from Broad Street.

·      The Town Council has worked hard with business over the last 10 years to keep the town vibrant and it is no accident that out of some 169 shop units only 3% are vacant.  The Town Council wishes to see this level of vacancy remain at that level or less.  The café and breaking up the unit into 3 would put this work under threat.

·      The Charter between Powys County Council and Welshpool Town Council does require the Planning Authority to seriously consider the policies of the Town Plan when making its decision.

The main concern of the traders was the unfair environment created with free parking on the retail park whilst the public car parks are charged for.

When we revealed the plans last week it caused a social media storm with many residents expressing that a Costa or Starbucks-style cafeteria could be a final nail in the town centre’s coffin. But there were some voices of support also, who believe such a facility is needed in the town.

The debate will now move to Powys County Council who will have the final say on the application, taking into account the comments from the Town Council.


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