8:16am Friday 20th July 2012
By Jill Crooks
In a surprise move Caffe Nero has been refused planning permission for a cafe/takeaway in Marlborough High Street.
The national coffee chain opened the shop in the former Dash ladies’ clothes shop at the end of April before its planning application for change of use had been determined, which angered many locals.
Its retrospective planning application was before Wiltshire Council’s Eastern area planning committee last night and planning officers had recommended it be approved, arguing that since it opened large numbers of people had been using it and it made a positive contribution to the vitality of Marlborough town centre.
But the committee rejected the application and said the figures on the number of customers, provided by Caffe Nero, could not be substantiated.
The committee also said the coffee shop was contrary to the National Planning Policy Framework regarding the individuality of town centres and against the objectives of the Marlborough Area Plan.
The committee voted seven to one in rejecting the application.
This morning traders in Marlborough welcomed Wiltshire Council's decision to refuse Caffe Nero retrospective planning permission for its High Street coffee shop, which began trading in April without change of use consent.
Paul Simell, president of the town Chamber of Commerce, said: "Wiltshire Council has done us proud.
"It is a landmark case that states any business shouldn't be coming into any town without planning permission, which any other business has to obtain.
"I am thrilled Wiltshire Council has stood up against this for the wellbeing of the town."
Mark Waring-Jones, who runs Applebys cafe in Hughenden Yard, Marlborough, was equally delighted. He said: "It is good to know someone is looking after the town. If the decision had gone the other way it would have set a massive precedent."
However, Mr Waring-Jones' delight was also tempered with apprehension. "I'm not going to get carried away because the next stage is that they will go to appeal and that is where it is going to be won or lost."
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