The Chippenham Pub on Shirland Road was considered at a third planning committee last week.
As many of you will know the owners applied in December for a certificate of lawful use, to allow the Chippenham to become a shop. The pub was closed in early 2015 after being purchased by developers. The dilapidated ‘shop’ running out of the ground floor seemed a clear attempt to circumvent planning rules and the protections put in place for pubs. Local residents and councillors have been making representations against this application since January. I spoke on behalf of residents at the planning committee in March, April and again last Tuesday.
We’ve known from the start that this was going to be a difficult fight because the planning rules that effected the application were so weak (they’ve since changed). Certainly not being in a conservation area or listed added to that difficulty.
I’m sorry to say that the Committee ultimately approved the certificate. Although the item was held in private I was able to make representations and the Committee were very sympathetic, and cross examined the Council Officers about the options and pressed them on all the points we raised. Nevertheless, the law is very restrictive in this area.
I can’t tell you how unhappy I am at this decision especially after the so near yet so far experience of the last committee – which until the final seconds essentially supported our position.
We are establishing contact with owners about their plans going forward, to make sure the community has an input in any future development.
I’ll be arranging another general pubs meeting in the next month or so (please email me if you want details), and will keep you all updated.
Thank you for your support.
Cllr Tim Roca