Tydd St Giles is to get a village shop and take away after a unanimous vote by Fenland District Council planning committee today.
Not a single councillor supported the officers’ recommendation for refusal.
A second proposal, to go against officers’ recommendation and agree it, was put forward by Cllr Ian Benny and won the day.
He said the scheme would be an opportunity for the village and put the question ‘why shouldn’t Tydd have a take away?”
He added: “Build it and they will come.”
Cllr Benny said he recognised there were objections but felt the application would add benefits to the community “and allow the village to thrive and grow.”
Cllr Jan French wished the applicants ‘good luck’ whilst Cllr Roy Gerstner described it as a “great opportunity for the village”.
Cllr Sidney Imafidon thought there were issues over access but felt the shops would be good for property values in the village.
Simon Lemmon of distinct DESIGNS UK LTD had queried why officers at Fenland District Council had recommended the application – to build three units, a takeaway, retail shop with post office and a convenience store at Tydd St Giles – for refusal.
“l notice the recommendation has now changed to refusal,” he told the council.
“Bearing in mind the previous two officers were both in support please can you explain why this is so?
Nilesha Sundavadra is the businessman hoping to bring a shop back to Tydd St Giles having previously opened a convenience store in Parson Drove.
Correspondence on the planning portal at the council he says that “as an experienced businessman, I can see Tydd St Giles as a brilliant commercial opportunity.
“And we have proved this at Parson Drove store which was in a similar position, in fact, Parson Drove had a post office with a small shop within it whereas Tydd St.Giles does not have anything such as a shop, post office or fish and chips shop.”
Mr Sundavadra says: “I feel the council does not want its local residents to have this services/facility which seem to be greatly needed and wanting by the villagers.
“Our proposed site has a community centre right opposite and house in either side. Again, the support from the villagers prove it is not a speculative venture, besides I feel these comments are not very negative and unsupportive from the officer.”
He said he had asked his current business supplier to test the market for a new store in Tydd St Giles.
“This survey came back expecting high business turnaround,” he said. “The village has a good size population. The village is very supportive of the business plan and are very happy to have this business come to the village.
“The officer is more concerned about possible loss of business which is not his concern. I feel there may be a hidden agenda which the officer is hiding behind.”
Among reasons for recommending refusal, the planning report said the site out of the village and Broad Drove East “is a narrow road barely passable by two vehicles abreast, with few passing places”.
Noting that the village no longer has a shop or take away “and mobile take aways have not succeeded in the past”, planners claimed the size of Mr Sundavadra’s development “is indicative of a facility to serve a settlement larger than Tydd St Giles.
“And the inclusion of a takeaway and level of parking to be provided and site location also suggests that the proposal seeks to attract business from a wider area.
“In other words, the catchment area is greater than the village and not proportionate to it as required by policy triggering the need to submit a retail impact assessment also indicates that the scale of retail provision will not be proportionate to meet local needs.”
The report added: “Drawing all the above together, it is considered that the proposal would not advance a small-scale development within or adjacent a settlement.
“Rather than meet the shopping needs of the village the scale of the proposal is geared towards a wider catchment, which together with the remote location of the site mitigates against sustainable development.
“The proposal is not accompanied by a Retail Impact Assessment required to be submitted as the development size threshold has been exceeded. The site is located within Flood Zone 3, the requisite sequential test has not been passed.”
Officers argued that “development of a substantial building, as proposed, would result in the introduction of an alien form of activity in an essentially open countryside location which would be fundamentally at odds with the visual characteristics and role of the countryside.”
They also claim the scale of the development falls outside the built settlement of Tydd St Giles and “is not proportionate to meeting local needs and services.
“It has not been adequately demonstrated there are no such alternative sites within the district and in the absence of this information the sequential test is not passed.
“Consequently, there are no justifiable reasons for the proposal to be located in an area of highest flood risk”.
Tydd St Giles parish council said several local residents had addressed a meeting, speaking both for and against the proposed development.
“Concerns raised by members of the council and residents included the viability of the three shops, the concerns raised by the police in respect of the ATM, the opening hours of the proposed hot food takeaway, ownership of the access road, and the need for lighting,” was how they summarised it to the district council.
“Members were informed by the landowner that the applicant is an experienced businessman capable of delivering the proposed uses and that the access road to the development will remain the property of the landowner.
“In view of the parish council’s desire to see a village shop return to the village and the level of public support for a village shop, members resolved to offer no objection”.
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