St Ives Town Council says it has “extensive reasons” for objecting to Wetherspoon’s plan to open a new pub in the town.
The national chain has applied to Huntingdonshire District Council to change the use of a retail unit in Market Hill to a public house.
Members of the town’s planning committee met on Wednesday (June 24) and recommended the application be rejected.
They argue that the loss of a retail unit would be contrary to HDC’s policy of retaining shops in town centres.
“No evidence has been presented to show how the development would enhance the viability and vitality of St Ives,” says the letter. “St Ives already has a range of food and drink outlets and another facility is unlikely to add anything to the total town retail offer.”
Town councillors have suggested that HDC should commission an impact assessment, paid for by Wetherspoons, to find out what the effect on the town centre would be, including the possible impact on other food and drink premises.
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.
The letter, by town clerk Alison Melnyczuk, points out that other large licensed premises are available for potential development, such as the Music Box and the former Ice Bar on The Broadway. It also says the town council had not been consulted on the change of use.
Other concerns held by councillors include noise and the effect on nearby homes, lack of detail in the application and the loss of five parking spaces.
While the town council had received no support for the proposal, of the 37 comments received by HDC, just six were deemed to be supportive.
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”.
The deadline for comments on the plan was yesterday (Wednesday). If HDC’s planners decide to recommend the plan for approval, it is likely the application will be determined by members of the Development Management Panel.