Investment firm Topland Group – owned by billionaire brothers Eddie and Sol Zakay – is confident of winning consent to open a 7 day a week, 5am to 11pm drive thru coffee shop and restaurant on the outskirts of Whittlesey.
Fenland District Council has been forced to postpone a decision following objections from Asda – who own a nearby distribution depot – but Topland feels it has rebutted these.
Topland plans to demolish an existing office block on land at the junction of the King’s Dyke on the A605 and Funtham’s Lane and replace it with a drive thru, with a new access and parking for up to 22 cars.
Fenland Council had asked Topland to agree an extended deadline to April 14, but this has now passed so a decision is expected shortly.
Asda objects to drive thru
Asda own the IPL warehouse to the north of the site application site. They claim that the development plan for Fenland support their view that losing an office building is not acceptable.
Asda also believes “it has not been demonstrated that this is the most appropriate location for the proposed drive thru restaurant”.
It says: “Drive thru restaurants are a leisure use and defined as a ‘main town centre use’ and the application site is ‘out- of- centre’ and it is not allocated for the type of use proposed.
“No evidence has been provided with the application, that we are aware of, that demonstrates that a marketing exercise has been undertaken and that there is no reasonable prospect of the site continuing to be used as office space”.
However, Jefferson Sheard Architects maintains that reforms of planning since Fenland Council’s Local Plan in 2014 had made a difference.
‘Remove bureaucracy and support the economy’
The architects believe that these reforms “were intentionally introduced by Government to give far greater freedom in the use of buildings to respond to the needs of businesses”.
They added the reforms were also intended to “remove bureaucracy and to support the economy”.
They also challenged Fenland Council to accept planning regulations which show the existing building can be used for multi purposes within its existing permission “including as a restaurant”.
Topland says the A605 King’s Dyke improvement scheme has realigned the A605 via a new roundabout junction to the south of the site and the Funtham’s Lane/ Peterborough Road junction.
“The section of Peterborough Road in front of the site has therefore been downgraded to a lower key road,” it adds.
Topland says the main road has diverted to the south via a new roundabout. The section of Peterborough Road adjacent to the application site and from where the new access is proposed has been downgraded to become a ‘no through road’.
“Given the changes to Peterborough Road it is considered that a new access can be safely accommodated,” it adds.
“There are no specific parking standards in the Local Plan for drive-thru facilities. The standards for restaurants, public houses, clubs, and transport cafes are considered excessive and inappropriate given the much lower dwell times for drive-thrus.
“The indicative proposal demonstrates that 22 car parking spaces can be achieved. “Given the standards are a maximum provision, the proposed level of car parking provision is considered to be reasonable especially given that the drive-thru element will reduce the demand for on-site parking.
“Other similar sites both within and outside of this district area have also been reviewed for context and the level of parking proposed by this scheme is comparable.”
Can you help us?
While you’re here, we are asking, for the first time, for readers to support us financially by taking out a modest subscription.
£2, or £3 or even £5 will help us achieve our goals. It will mean the second year of CambsNews will be livelier, healthier, and much better placed to cover the important issues affecting our everyday lives.
Your subscription simply means we can provide and expand our news FREE to all readers (Read More)Will you help us? Simply click the link below to make a donation.