Planning officials have recommended approval of a ‘change of use’ application for a Rothesay shop - after concluding that opponents of the plan are largely motivated by commercial considerations, not planning concerns.
Members of Argyll and Bute Council’s planning, protective services and licensing committee (PPSL) will be asked to rule next week on the application, by Liz McCabe, for the partial change of use of the premises at 8 Bishop Street to a hot food takeaway/retail shop.
In his report to the PPSL, which meets in Lochgilphead on December 18, Bute and Cowal planning officer Steven Gove states: “Whilst 18 representations have been made against the proposal only one of these is from a flatted property close [to] the premises.
“The remainder are from businesses, or from properties removed from the subject premises, and whilst these do raise some valid planning issues they appear
largely prompted by commercial interests such as competition which are not material considerations.”
Opponents to the application raised concerns about noise and odour nuisance, parking access, pressure on sewerage and drainage and the appropriateness (or otherwise) of a neon sign at the front of the premises, as well as the impact on other businesses.
According to Mr Gove’s report, objectors believe that “an undesirable precedent would be set if the application is approved” because it would pave the way for any business to obtain a hot food takeaway licence, and that there are already enough takeaway premises on the island, meaning “another business would not be mutually beneficial”.
Commenting on the competition worries, Mr Gove continues: “There is no need to demonstrate need or demand in support of the application. Market conditions and competition with established business are not planning considerations.”
The report recommends that planning permission be granted subject to a condition that a ductless air filtration unit be used at the premises “to prevent those living nearby from being exposed to odour/noise emissions likely to cause a nuisance” - though the report also states that such a ductless system has already been sourced for the shop.
Mrs McCabe opened the Bishop Street premises as Liz’s Cupcake Heaven on December 2.
In support of her application, she states that her aim is to serve trays of home-cooked food between 4pm and 6pm which can be delivered to customers at home, with an eye particularly on older Bute residents, and that discussions have already taken place with private companies which provide care services on the island.