18 Dec 13
Yesterday evening the WDC planning Committee reversed the planners decision to refuse a change of use application made by a Smith St business owner.
Thankfully after hearing evidence from supporters, including myself the panel decided to grant the applicant a B1 use.
The decision though, and giving my support was a little tricky. Not everything is as straight forward as it seems.
Warwick District Council originally refused the change of use application for a reason that I actually support. WDC rightly pointed out that B1 use businesses have the maximum of 25% occupancy on Smith St. The planners are concerned about the mix of businesses on the street. A good mix of restaurants, service, retail and non retail are needed to make it an attractive and viable environment for shoppers.
The business in question was already trading and had been for nearly 5 years. Errors had been made by the landlord when the lease was transferred so this is why things went wrong. Due diligence must always be applied by both parties when transferring or setting up new leases.
Thankfully a compromise was reached by the committee thus ensuring 5 peoples jobs, and not another empty unit on the street.
The compromise suggested by myself and a Town Councillor, Mandy LittleJohn was to have the B1 use applied to the current business owner and not the premises. Therefore should the business be sold or cease trading then it will revert to a A1 use.
Things are changing quickly on the High Streets of the UK. Flexibility and co-operation is needed by all parties to ensure the prosperity and longevity of all businesses and traditional High Streets.