The vacant appeal premises formed part of a terraced frontage consisting of commercial uses at ground floor and residential accommodation above. The development proposed the change of use of the whole mid-terraced building to a cafe´ bar/restaurant with the proposed opening hours of 7am to 12.30 am every day of the week. In terms of viability, the inspector opined that because the current use of the property was as a non-A1 banking use, then the proposal would not result in the loss of an additional A1 retail use or dilution of the shopping role of the centre and noted that a minimum of 50 per cent of retail uses would still be retained within the frontage. In this respect the inspector could see no adopted local plan policy conflict. The inspector held the proposed use would still contribute to the vitality and viability of the centre through the daytime and night-time economy with the added potential for linked trips and would not lead to an over-concentration of A3 uses. Whilst the inspector considered the requirement to market the site for a minimum of 12 months had not been exercised at the time of the application, they felt this was only one aspect of policy guidance, which would not overall be undermined by the proposal.
With regard to the living conditions of nearby residential occupiers, the inspector considered that given the mixed-use character of the area, the nature and hours of operation of other restaurant uses already in the vicinity, and the proximity of the premises to a busy road, the scheme would not, subject to hours of use and noise prevention conditions, cause unacceptable harm to the living conditions of local residents beyond the existing level of background noise.
Inspector: H C Davies; Written representations