Thursday, June 28, 2018

News: Council calling time on more bars in Rotherham suburb?

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Rotherham Council could knock back plans for a new bar after planning officers set out a position that it is not convinced that more drinking establishments are needed on the main street in a popular Rotherham suburb.

Rothbiz has previously reported on proposals that would enable current operators to expand in Wickersley.

A planning application was submitted earlier this year from the owners and operators of the Olive Lounge bar and restaurant that would enable a new real ale (craft beer) style bar to open in the former Village Butcher premises on Bawtry Road.

This was followed by an application from the owners of The Courtyard who want to expand the popular bar into an adjacent retail unit.

Applicants argue that retail units in Wickersley are not attractive to the market, and that occupation by other uses, such as A4 drinking establishments, would reduce vacancy levels, and improve the townscape and vitality and viability of the centre.

Local ward councillors have objected to plans stating that they had received "increasing numbers of complaints from local residents with concerns about late night noise nuisance, parking issues and anti-social behaviour relating to the night time economy."

Wickersley ward councillors said in February: "As we have seen the decline of Rotherham Town Centre Wickersley appears to have become the destination of choice for evening entertainment for a wide area of Rotherham, however, if Wickersley is to keep its successful residential and community feeling it needs to keep a mixed retail offer and not just become the drinking hub for the whole of Rotherham. After all Wickersley is just a village that cannot and should not have to put up with all these problems."

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Neither application has been determined yet but a position statement has been issued from the Council's Planning Policy team. It sets out that the continued growth of Wickersley is likely to create ongoing demand in the future to support this district centre and that the evidence presented with the applications has not convinced them of the retail units being unattractive.

Adopted only this week, new planning policies in the borough's local plan only support specified alternative uses like new bars where proposals would not reduce the percentage of A1 (retail) uses below 65%, or further reduce them where they are already below this figure. It states that "in particular new drinking establishments and hot food takeaways are more appropriately located within other parts of town or district centres."

Retail currently comprises 67% of the uses within the primary shopping frontage in Wickersley.

Ryan Shepherd, senior planning officer at Rotherham Council, said in a memo: "Considering the potential cumulative impact of the two proposals, together the developments would result in the loss of two A1 units and reduce the overall number of units within the primary shopping frontage by 1. It would reduce lawful A1 uses to 64%, contrary to Draft Policy SP23.

"Even if a degree of flexibility regarding appropriate uses is employed the proposals, cumulatively, would reduce the percentage of A1 uses below the threshold set out in Draft Policy SP23 and therefore would not be supported.

"Furthermore I consider that there is flexibility within the Local Plan to consider the development of A4 uses in a number of locations outside of Primary Shopping Frontages. Finally I do not consider that the evidence presented regarding the vitality and viability of the centre outweighs my concerns regarding the compliance of the proposed developments with Local Plan policies.

"I remain of the view that the applications should be refused as contrary to Draft Policies SP22 Development Within Town, District and Local Centres and SP23 Primary Shopping Frontages (as proposed to be amended)."

The Courtyard Facebook page
Olive Lounge website

Images: Google Maps / Olive Lounge

3 comments:

Anonymous,  June 28, 2018 at 3:28 PM  

As usual Rotherham council,trying to destroy night time economy,theyce succeeded in Rotherham Town centre,now they've moved on to Wickersley.Useless!

Tom,  June 29, 2018 at 10:15 AM  

The plans have now been REFUSED by Rotherham Council.

Anonymous,  July 4, 2018 at 8:06 AM  

I think this is actually quite a good move.

It would be very interesting to see what would happen if late night licenses were re-considered in places like Wickersley and other outlying areas - perhaps putting a midnight curfew would incentivise people to return to, and help to rebuild the town centre's night economy?

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