Vote over St Ives pub plan is delayed as councillors call for ‘more consultation’

Huntingdonshire District Council

Huntingdonshire District Council - Credit: Archant

Councillors voted to delay making a decision on a pub company’s plan to open a new branch in St Ives.

JD Wetherspoon, which has more than 900 pubs across the UK, applied to Huntingdonshire District Council to change the use of a retail unit in Market Hill to a pub.

The plans were set to be decided on Tuesday at a meeting of the council’s development management panel but councillors opted to defer the decision, citing a lack of information.

A spokesman for the authority said that councillors want more information from JD Wetherspoon about “the frontage of the pub and the beer garden” and they also want evidence of more consultation with the public.

No date has been set for when the plans will be reconsidered.

In the run up to the meeting, council planning official Dallas Owen had recommended the plan be approved.

In her report to councillors, Ms Owen said: “The proposed development is considered to be compliant with relevant national and local planning policy since it will bring a vacant building in a sustainable town centre location back into use.

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“And the scale and location of the development is not considered to have an overly detrimental impact upon the conservation area. It would not have a significant detrimental impact on the amenity of neighbours and it is acceptable in terms of highway safety.”

The recommendation came despite determined opposition to the plan from some businesses in the town, with but St Ives Town Council among many to object to the plans, saying that it would make the town “less attractive” to shoppers.

At a meeting of the town council’s planning committee, back in July, 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.