South Cambridgeshire District Council: Pure Town Planning have recently secured planning permission for alterations, extensions and change of use of an existing public house (Use Class A4) to a convenience store (Use Class A1) with two flats (Use Class C3) in Harston, a small village near Cambridge.

The proposed development, which was designed by Union Architecture, is to be laid out over two floors. The ground floor provides a convenience store with 200 square metres of net trade-able floor space (Use Class A1 Use) and 120 square metres of floor space for back of house operations. The upper floor will be converted into two flats. To create a positive relationship with the street scene, the principle elevation of the building will continue to on to the High Street.

To achieve the floor space required the existing building is to be extended to the rear with a single storey extension. The proposed extension will assimilate various existing rear extensions and measure 16.9m in depth. To ensure a subservient relationship with the existing building the proposed extension will be constructed from traditional materials and feature a parapet to give the appearance of a hipped roof from street level.

The proposed development will provide 15 off-street parking spaces (2 of which will be allocated for residents parking) and Sheffield bike stands for secure bicycle storage for staff, customers and residents. The application was supported by a comprehensive transport statement and service management plan prepared by Croft Transport Planning which demonstrated the level of parking provision was sufficient and safe ingress and egress could be achieved by delivery vehicles.

As part of the application, we prepared a comprehensive supporting design, access and planning statement which set out the merits of the proposal in a clear and concise manner, whilst making it clear that the proposals were in accordance with adopted planning policies that support the provision of new community facilities within villages and the provision of new homes in sustainable locations. We argued that proposed convenience store would provide a local facility for residents that would reduce the need to travel outside the catchment area which will benefit the local environment as there will less car journeys to other areas and thus, less emissions. The reduction in travel times will also have social benefits for local residents, as they will be able to have the option to walk to the convenience store.

Another key consideration was the loss of the public house. We argued that the loss of the existing public house was acceptable and compliant with local planning policy as the pub use was not commercially viable and alternatives to meet local needs were situated within close proximity of the site. Also it was argued that the proposal retains a community service use in the form of a convenience store. Savills prepared detailed marketing and viability reports to support the application.

Upon considering the application and supporting documents, Officers agreed with our conclusions and moved to recommend the scheme for approval.

The convenience store will be occupied by the Co-operative and the new store will have an emphasis on fresh food and it will stock a wide range of fruit and veg, award winning fresh food and British meat and poultry. There will also be an instore bakery that will serve fresh bread and cakes. The development will create approximately 22 permanent jobs which will provide a significant boost to the local economy.

The client was delighted with the decision and is now preparing for the redevelopment of the site. Upon receiving the news that the application had been approved he stated “Fantastic news!! I am thoroughly delighted at receiving the permission and would like to take this opportunity to thank you for all your hard work, effort and professionalism in getting this one over the line.”

If you have a commercial premises or vacant brownfield site and would like to pursue a change of use application, or any other commercially-related planning application for that matter such as; increasing opening hours, new shopfronts, new signage, canopies etc. then why not call Pure Town Planning on 01202 585524 or email info@puretownplanning.co.uk for a FREE 30 minute consultation on how we can help you.

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