Wetherspoons – copy of our objection to planning application

As promised at the last LAT meeting – here is a copy of the submission made to the Planning Committee on 24/4/15.

Dear Kathryn
(cc Planning.application@brighton-hove.gov.uk)

Reference: Application number: BH2015/00676

Address:     94-103 London Road Brighton
Description:     Change of use of unit from retail (A1) to public house (A4)

I am writing on behalf of London Road Area Local Action Team (LAT) following the meeting of 14th April 2015 18.15 at Calvary Church, Brighton, BN1 4ND.

I am chair of the LAT and was mandated unanimously to send in our objection to this planning application.

We object on the grounds that:

(a) the agreed undertaking for the redevelopment of the Co-op was for the space to be A1 – retail. To change this retrospectively would be to betray the sensitive and carefully weighed planning discussions regarding the former Co-op, an important space on London Road

(b) We wish to maintain the balance of retail and entertainment/ leisure facilities as it currently is. The planning policy referenced below SR5 (a) makes mention of a “clear predominance of A1 use would be maintained”.

To re-classify such a significant space would be in contradiction to this policy. We note it does not say a “narrow predominance” but a “clear predominance”.

(c) The size of the frontage appears to be prima facie in contravention of planning policy reference below SR5 (b) in that it would cause a “significant break in the shopping frontage of more than 15m”. It is to be noted that a smaller break contiguous with this exists already in that the Gym next door already produces a break in *shopping* frontage of a few metres.

—–

London Road has enjoyed a regeneration in the past few years – one thing that has contributed powerfully to this has been a strong focus on alcohol and its outlets. As recently as summer 2013 we were involved in successfully calling for the removal of an alcohol licence in nearby York Place. Alcohol is a very sensitive issue in this area – hence it being designated a Special Stress Area. We are concerned lest London Road should revert to an alcohol-led economy like West Street. To allow the change requested in this planning application would be to set a precedent, and tip the balance – and a very large tip at that (659 square metres)

As we have considered the subject of Wetherspoons on London Road we have invited them beginning 9.1.15, and again on 1.4.15 (see appendix 2 below, for reference) to co-ordinate with the local community and put their point of view, so as to reach a mutual understanding. Unfortunately to date no representative has yet undertaken to come and speak. It is a pity that they were unable to do so given that the planning application has a 21 day response period and they neither notified us of their intention, nor consulted with us during the process, nor left us time for such a consultation.

The minutes of the LAT meeting 14.4. will show a careful and wide-ranging discussion including some opinions which are not germane to this planning objection. However we believe that the points stated above amply make a reasoned and demonstrable case.

Planning Committee members will be aware that London Road Area LAT has been active since late 2008 and enjoys a good reputation with the locality and the various agencies. We take an active and responsible role in the regeneration and care for the London Road Area:  www.londonroadlat.wordpress.com

yours sincerely,

Philip Wells
London Road Area LAT Chair

londonroadlat.wordpress.com
@londonroadlat
24th April 2015

——————————————————————-

Appendix: Planning Document quoted from: (accessed 24/4/15)
http://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/sites/brighton-hove.gov.uk/files/downloads/local_plan_2005/adopted_local_plan-saved_policies_july_08_Chapter06.pdf

SR5    Town and district shopping centres
With the aim of maintaining and enhancing the defined prime
frontages of:

– the Town Centres of London Road and Hove; and

– District Centres of St James Street, Lewes Road, Brighton Marina
and Boundary Road / Station Road;

the change of use of existing Class A1 use shops to Class A2, A3 (cafes
and restaurants), will be permitted provided all of the following criteria
are met:
a.   a clear predominance of Class A1 uses would be maintained;
b.   as a result of the proposal there would not be a significant break
in the shopping frontage of more than 15 metres;
c.   it would have a positive effect on the shopping environment of the
area by encouraging combined trips and attracting pedestrian
activity to the centre; and
d.   the development would not be materially detrimental to the
amenities of occupiers of nearby properties or the general character
of the area

————————————————————————
Appendix 2: emails cited above:

8/4/15

Philip,

I refer to your email below.

My colleague Nigel Conner who is our Head of Legal will be picking this up and in touch regarding our plans for London Road.

Nigel is on annual leave until 20 April but will be contact on his return.

Regards

 

James Marsden MRICS
Senior Acquisitions & Estates Manager
JD Wetherspoon PLC
T – 01923 477 859
M – 07976 002 346
E – jmarsden@jdwetherspoon.co.uk

JD Wetherspoon PLC | Wetherspoon House | Central Park | Reeds Crescent | Watford | Hertfordshire | WD24 4QL

 

 

From: Philip Wells <philipwells@btinternet.com>
Date: 8 April 2015 17:24:11 GMT+1
To: John Chapman <jchapman@jdwetherspoon.co.uk>
Cc: <sbarratt@jdwetherspoon.co.uk>, C Reeves <cathyvclat2014@yahoo.co.uk>, “Ian.Davey@brighton-hove.gcsx.gov.uk” <Ian.Davey@brighton-hove.gcsx.gov.uk>
Subject: Re: Brighton, London Road site – Wetherspoons??

Dear Mr Chapman,

We are just about to prepare the agenda for London Road LAT meeting – Brighton April 14th meeting (18.15 for 18.30 at Calvary Church 72 Viaduct Road, BN1 4ND)

I was wondering whether we were to expect a representative from J.D.Wetherspoons at this particular meeting?

best wishes,

Philip Wells
01273687721

On 01/04/15 17:48, Philip Wells wrote:

Dear Mr Chapman,

I just thought I would make contact again regarding the possibility of J.D.Wetherspoon branch opening in London Road Brighton.

I wanted again to repeat the invitation for you to come and talk with the London Road Area Local Action Team (LAT) about the proposed development, which I understood you were in favour of doing.

As you know the alcohol environment in London Road has been a matter of sustained concern for the last 8 or more years and the community would welcome the opportunity for concerns to be heard by yourselves, and vice versa.

The matter is of some sensitivity and the local press has already been partially quoting LAT discussions in order to boost controversy, and the planning application on the Council website has been noted and tweeted.

I am sure the way forward is by good personal communications.

The next meetings are 14th April, 5th May, 2nd June, all 18.15 for 18.30 at Calvary Church, Viaduct Road.

best wishes,

Philip Wells

LAT Chair
07906126643

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