A pub company’s plan to open a new branch in St Ives looks set to go ahead, despite widespread opposition in the town.
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 chain says the proposal will “complement the economy of the town” and that the alterations to the building, formerly a Warehouse Clearance shop, will “add interest and variety to the conservation area”.
The plan is set to be considered by the district council’s development management panel on October 19 and planning official Dallas Owen has recommended it be approved.
In his report to councillors, Mr 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.
“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 comes 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 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.