The building was originally a chapel and still had tombstones in its grounds. Local residents were concerned that the area's village atmosphere would be eroded. The inspector recognised that the pattern and fabric of the area owed much to its origins as a village and agreed that physical manifestations of the past were worthy of preservation. However, he considered that functionally the area was a suburb with a local suburban centre.
The case against the proposal, he noted, was that the scale and provision for food and drink uses exceeded this local function. He held that it was difficult to establish whether the increased provision was disproportionate without more information and considered that the case had not been proven.
He found no evidence of a disproportionate noise problem in the local centre as a whole. The unitary development plan identified local centres as suitable locations for food and drink establishments in principle, he noted. He ruled that the locational objections had not been substantiated.
However, the inspector felt that installing a ventilation flue in a chimney stack would create a large and alien addition that would look discordant and unbalanced. Its impact on the street scene would be unacceptably obtrusive, he held. In the absence of a clear indication of any alternative, he concluded that this objection could not be overcome by imposing a condition. He also held that noise, disturbance, fumes and smells would have a harmful impact on the site's residential neighbours.
DCS No: 100039089; Inspector: Chris Turner; Hearing.