St Ives Town Council says JD Wetherespoon’s plan to open a new pub would make the town “less attractive” to shoppers.
At a meeting of the council’s planning committee, councillors overwhelmingly recommended the plan be turned down, saying that the proposed pub would take up valuable retail space in the town centre.
A letter listing “extensive reasons” for refusing the plans was sent to Huntingdonshire District Council’s planning department, with councillors calling for an impact study to be carried out, at Wetherspoon’s expense.
They also argue that the loss of a shop would mean that nearly half of one side of Market Hill would be occupied by non-retail units.
Wetherspoon’s, which has more than 900 pubs across the UK, has applied to Huntingdonshire District Council to change the use of a retail unit in Market Hill to a public house.
Peter Baker, of the St Ives Civic Society, attended the town council meeting and told councillors that, should permission be granted for Weatherspoons, it would likely have a major impact on other businesses in the town.
Mr Baker told councillors: “Owing to the company’s extensive purchasing power it would undercut all other food and drink outlets in St Ives, particularly the public houses operating from listed buildings which may be forced to close.”
Mr Baker’s concerns were echoed by residents and businesses owners, who also addressed the council.
Wetherspoons says the proposal would “complement the economy of the town” and that the alterations to the building, formerly a Warehouse Clearance shop, would “add interest and variety to the conservation area”.
If Huntingdonshire District Council’s planners decide to recommend the plan for approval, it is likely the application will be determined by members of the development management panel.
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