At the meeting on Tuesday 14th April 2015 after careful debate it was unanimously agreed to object to the planning application for change of use BH2015/00676 on behalf of J.D.Wetherspoon.
They are applying for change of use to one of the large units of the former Coop. They want “Change of use of unit from retail (A1) to public house (A4).” – see Planning Website
The regeneration of London Road has proceeded on the basis of a healthy mix of economic activities including retail, food, arts, alcohol with food and so on. This has been enshrined in the London Road masterplan. When the – also controversial – planning application for the Co-op was finally agreed it specified “retail A1” for this particular space.
The views that were expressed at the meeting and subsequently indicate that people do not want to see London Road tipped towards an alcohol-led economy, where retail is pushed out – like West Street.
The size of the proposed Pub is 659 square metres. – which is probably twice the impact of , say, the Joker. This will not just “tip” the balance, but weight it heavily in the direction that people do not want it to go.
As recorded elsewhere Wetherspoons have been twice invited to participate in these discussions, originally on 9th January, but are apparently unable at this point even to confirm that a representative will be available for our next meeting on 5th May. The formal 21 day period for comments on the application will have elapsed by that time.
Despite earlier verbal assurances from Wetherspoons, It feels as though the community has not been kept informed by them, not listened to, and – to be honest – not treated with respect.
Alcohol has been a matter of great sensitivity and concern in the regeneration of London Road e.g.. the old [mis]perception that it is “full of street drinkers and drunks”. Having made such progress, no one wants to go down that road again.
Philip Wells – LAT Chair.