It is not unexpected but it is disappointing. Shropshire Council planners are recommending that the controversial application to convert Golden Moments into a house be approved by the Southern Planning Committee next Tuesday (22/01790/FUL).
I don’t agree with officers’ reasoning and will making my views known to fellow committee members next week. There are planning grounds for turning this application down. There is no obligation on committee members to accept the recommendation from officers, otherwise what would be the point of having a planning committee?
Town centres should bustling places. They should have places to eat. Places to meet friends. Places to laugh. Places to enjoy good food. This move to close a popular business will be damaging to the vitality and economy of our town centre.
Thirty objections have been made to the planning application with no expressions of support other than from the applicant. Ludlow Town Council said: “The proposed development would have a detrimental effect on the character of the local area.”, which I am sorry to say is one of the vaguest objections I have seen for a while and makes no reference to planning policy or guidance. Eleven objections have been made to the associated application for listed building consent (22/01791/LBC).
Objectors speak of the importance and value of having a quality dining establishment in town, which is imperative to bring footfall and trade into Ludlow. They say Golden Moments is a thriving, successful, well run business and there has been a business on the site since the 1960s.
Shropshire Council’s conservation team has no objection to the plans saying, “Overall, the proposal will preserve historic fabric and preserve and enhance the external character and appearance of the building.”
Planning officers say:
“On balance, it is considered that the proposal would not detract from the visual amenity of the building, the surrounding area or cause harm to the conservation area. it should be noted that there are empty buildings within the designated town centre that would be more appropriate and supported by policy which the tenant could move into and operate the restaurant from.”
No evidence is given by officers as to which those buildings are, why they are more compliant with planning policy and why the current usage of 50 Broad Street is not compliant with planning policy.
I will speak against this application at the Southern Planning Committee next week. Despite being a member of the planning committee, I cannot vote on it as it is in my own ward.
The Southern Planning Committee meeting will be at 2pm on Tuesday 26 July at Shirehall. The deadline to register to speak at the committee is 5pm on Thursday 21 July. Contact Ashley Kendrick or Tim Ward on 01743 250893 / 257713.