At a recent Planning Committee meeting on 13th November two applications were considered to allow change of use from A1 (Retail) to A5 (Hot Food Takewaway) for the former Blockbuster premises in Emmer Green Shopping Centre. The two applications were 131049/FUL by Roma Foods (Pizza Hut), and 13162/FUL & 13163/FUL by DPGS Ltd. The latter pair of applications included a new extract flue, a new air intake duct, an extract fan and a replacement refrigeration compressor.
The applications only came to the Planning Committee because Peppard Councillor Richard Willis used the “call in” procedure to ensure that they came before elected Councillors to consider. Many local residents had expressed concerns about both applications to ward Councillors and 16 had written to the Council to object to the first application.
All three Peppard ward Councillors spoke to raise concerns over the impact on the existing mix of shops and the environment. However, unfortunately the Council can only refuse permission where there are meaningful planning grounds and the number of existing fast food premises nearby meant that it could not be argued to be out of keeping with other shops in the precinct.
Cllr Richard Willis did raise the issue of the likely increased rubbish and succeeded in getting a Waste Management Plan added as a condition to the two applications which were then approved by a majority vote of the committee.
Since two applicants now have permission to open a takeaway on the site we will have to wait to see which one is successful in buying the lease.