Canalside cafe held as community facility to be retained

A new dwelling from a cafe/restaurant in a conservation area in Staffordshire was refused on the grounds of less than substantial harm to a listed canal bridge and the conservation area itself, as well as the loss of a community facility.

The inspector considered the main issues were the impact of the change of use on heritage assets and the loss of the community facility. The old lock house cafe was located just outside a village but in a prominent canalside location adjoining a grade II listed bridge and at the gateway to a nationally acclaimed historic estate.

The inspector felt the location of a new build garage for the proposed conversion would adversely affect the setting of the adjacent listed canal bridge and the proposed roof alterations to the cottage itself would detract from the appearance and character of the conservation area. In addition, he could see no public benefits arising frm the scheme to outweigh these harms. The inspector also felt the cafe provided an important local facility to the community and tourists alike due to its location, the loss of which would be harmful to the social and economic role of sustainability. He held that insufficient evidence of the marketing of the property had been provided to show it was not viable as existing or modified and was therefore contrary to national and local policy.

Inspector: Gareth Thomas; Written Representations

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