The proposals involved a range of improvements, including installation of a cash machine, alterations to an access ramp and demolition of a conservatory to allow extension of the premises. The council accepted that conversion of the pub was permitted development and that an extension of up to 100 square metres could be added. However, it was concerned about the changes to the building's arts and crafts style and the scheme's impact on a predominantly residential area.
The inspector placed weight on the company's fallback position, which would enable the store to operate without limits on delivery times. Since the appellants had confirmed that loss of the community facility would occur even if the appeals were dismissed, he decided that the trading effects on local centres and the loss of the pub did not carry significant weight.
In his view, the available evidence did not highlight significant planning harm. He observed that the convenience store would serve the local community, with many people living within walking distance, and stimulate economic growth. The cash machine would not adversely affect highway safety, he added.
Inspector: Clive Sproule; Inquiry