Development Control Casebook: Fear of antisocial behaviour foils conversion to nightclub

The change of use of a restaurant in Torbay to a nightclub has been rejected on the grounds that it would be likely to prejudice the regeneration of the harbourside.

The inspector accepted that the conversion would create a relatively small addition to the heavy concentration of similar premises in the area.

Nevertheless, he felt that the proposal would be likely to add to local crime and hooliganism problems.

He found police evidence compelling, painting a disturbing picture of antisocial, disorderly and violent behaviour fuelled by excessive alcohol consumption. The result was that most law-abiding people would be deterred from visiting the area in the evening, he maintained.

The inspector stated that it was unsatisfactory for the appellant to argue that the issue of disorderly behaviour could be left to the licensing authority because the proposal would have land-use planning implications.

The effect of adding to the problems of the area would be to further deter visitors to the harbourside who wished to appreciate its historic character, unique waterfront assets and ambience, he decided. The area would therefore be less attractive than it could be, resulting in an adverse effect on investment in local regeneration, he concluded.

DCS No: 36960666; Inspector: Douglas Machin; Written representations.

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