Village shops turned into takeaways fear

PUBLISHED: 10:27 04 July 2013 | UPDATED: 10:27 04 July 2013

Withycombe shops. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref exe 6332-27-13AW

Withycombe shops. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref exe 6332-27-13AW

Archant

Withycombe's 'traditional' row of village shops is gradually being turned into a strip of fast-food takeaways fear town planners.

An application for change of use to use a former dog grooming business as a takeaway at 114 Withycombe Village Road, was recommended for refusal on Monday.

Town planners say that that the row of six village shops should offer a range of vital local village services, and not just cater for those driving through the village picking up their supper.

Of the five occupied shops, currently one is a hairdressers, another is a general convenience store and Post Office and there is also a fish and chip shop, a chemist and a Chinese takeaway.

At the town planning meeting on Monday, Councillor Steve Wragg said: “It is not the role of the local planning authority to regulate the high street.

“But it is their role to ensure that applications do not have an adverse detrimental affect on an area and its amenities.”

He said that the village shops provided a vital service to the community and that Withycombe’s large elderly population relied on the range of services they offered.

“This is not a high street,” he added. “Withycombe has two traditional pubs, two traditional churches and a traditional post box.

“I would like the conservation officer to have a look at this.”

He also questioned whether there was adequate room for waste bins while other councillors had concerns about the extra litter.

Councillor Wragg said that once permission was given for use as a takeaway it would be unreasonable to then restrict the opening times to 10pm at night.

“This is not a town centre. We should not have this in the suburbs; it is a residential area.

“I would like to see a continuation of a mixed range of shops.”

The plans will now be considered by district planners.

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