Town centre vitality and viability unharmed by restaurant

An inspector allowed the change of a vacant shop to a restaurant, deciding there would be no harm to the vitality and viability of the central London town centre, and making a partial award of costs against the council for not defending their reason for refusal.

The council considered that because the restaurant would be closed in the morning, the resultant dead frontage would harm the vitality and viability of a primary shopping frontage in a top UK shopping destination. The inspector noted numerous other non-A1 uses along the road and the council could not highlight other cases where the issue of a dead frontage had caused a specific problem. The inspector decided that even though the restaurant would not be open in the morning, all the other units in this street frontage would be and it would be open in an evening when the retail uses would be closed. Consequently, she did not consider that the restaurant not being open in a morning would materially harm the vitality and viability of the major town centre. She also found no harm in respect of parking or noise and disturbance to nearby residents and allowed the appeal.

Inspector: D Boffin; Hearing

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