London council fail to block takeaway

An inspector allowed an appeal against refusal by a London council to grant permission for the change of use of a town centre ground floor and basement restaurant to a hot food takeaway.

The council refused the pizza takeaway chain permission for the change of use against officer recommendation, asserting an overconcentration of hot food takeaways and noise and disturbance to local residents.

In relation to policy controls over the proportion of non-retail food and drink uses, the inspector noted the premises were already in food and drink use so the proposal would not introduce a new non-retail use nor would it alter the number of such consecutive uses and in any event policy did not apply because the site lay outside the policy boundary. She also found sufficient distance and separation between existing hot food takeaways and the appeal site, to ensure there was no overconcentration. Despite the council’s concerns and evidence of high levels of childhood obesity and deprivation in the area, given that a restaurant could occupy the appeal premises without planning permission and sell the same types of foods as a hot food takeaway and in the absence of control over the distance from schools a takeaway could locate, the inspector found no policy conflict.

On the issue of noise and disturbance to local residents, the inspector observed that the business would be more delivery-orientated than for walk-in customers, the hours of operation could be conditioned, and the site was not far from the high street. She concluded  that the takeaway would not cause significant harm to living conditions. With appropriate mitigation, noise emitted from plant equipment would be within the council’s acceptable thresholds for noise, subject to conditions. The inspector allowed the appeal, refusing to make an award of costs against the council.

Inspector: Katherine Stephens; Written representations

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