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Opposition stops new tearoom

PUBLISHED: 07:00 18 February 2013

Cathy Howlett, who is upset after losing out on opening a tearoom in Holt despite getting planning permission from North Norfolk District Council.
PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Cathy Howlett, who is upset after losing out on opening a tearoom in Holt despite getting planning permission from North Norfolk District Council. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2013

A traditional tearoom will not open in a north Norfolk town despite getting planning permission because of “negative feelings from other businesses and customers”.

Cathy Howlett, 46, from a village near Cromer, received the go-ahead from North Norfolk District Council last month to open the business in Chapel Yard, Holt.

The application sparked a big debate during the district council’s development committee meeting when it was approved.

It attracted 103 objections because many felt the-then empty unit – which had been a clothes shop called Renew – should not become another food and drink business which would impact on the town’s vitality.

The co-owner of Closet Candy in nearby Appleyard and former tenant of the Chapel Yard unit, Hannah Bellamy, said the landlord had given her the opportunity to leave the six-year lease late last year and offer it to someone else. She originally told Mrs Howlett she could take over the lease if planning permission was granted but changed her decision after hearing concerns from people in Holt.

She said: “The negative effect of the proposed tearoom forced us into making a decision that it could not go ahead because of the negative feelings we were getting from customers and fellow shop owners.”

The businesswoman said three people were interested in the empty unit, which will reopen at the end of March as an interiors shop.

Landlord Ian Cook said he did not have an issue with a new tearoom.

Mrs Howlett said: “I was prepared to put the negative feelings aside and not get personal.” She added she had not given up on her dream of opening an English tearoom and hoped to open one in Norfolk later this year.

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