Opticians expand into housing unit in primary shopping frontage

The expansion of an established firm of opticians within a primary retail frontage in a Surrey town centre was permitted despite involving the loss of a residential unit.

There was no dispute about the need to maintain small rented dwellings in the town, the inspector recorded, and the unit was particularly well suited to small families with children or the elderly. While this counted heavily against the scheme the inspector placed greater weight on the needs of the company which had occupied the adjacent premises for 35 years. By expanding the business they would improve the service to customers as well as catering for increased demand. The site occupied an accessible and convenient location and would reinforce the retail function of the centre. The government wanted to avoid imposing undue burdens on existing businesses in order to promote economic growth and the appeal was allowed.

Inspector: Elizabeth Lawrence; Written representations


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