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Do not quash Lowestoft Tesco decision plea issued ahead of crunch meeting

The Tramway Hotel on London Road, Pakefield

The Tramway Hotel on London Road, Pakefield

Archant © 2012

Councillors have been urged to help prevent Tesco set up a fourth store in the Lowestoft area by going against the advice of a monitoring officer report.

Tonight a full meeting of Waveney District Council will be discussing in a crunch debate if Tesco needs planning permission to convert the Tramway Hotel in Pakefield into a Tesco Express store – a scheme which has drawn strong opposition from residents.

Earlier this month Waveney’s development control committee ruled that the Victorian Tramway Hotel was of mixed use as a pub and hotel and so Tesco would need change of use planning permission.

But last week the monitoring officer, Arthur Charvonia, published a report that said the decision should be quashed at tonight’s meeting.

The report said the committee ignored independent legal advice that said the building was only a pub and, therefore, Tesco did not need planning permission and councillors went beyond their remit.

Last week’s report has led to the anti-Tesco group Pakefield Opposed to Tesco sending out letters to all 48 Waveney councillors asking them to consider not to quash the planning committee’s mixed use ruling and instead ask the development control committee to re-examine the issue.

The letter says: “Having failed to cite any case law which would render illegal the view of councillors that the Tramway Hotel is a mixed use hotel and pub, the monitoring officer and barrister rely on the argument that the decision of the development control committee on April 2 was premature and unsound because certain reports were not presented to the meeting.

“It can be argued that councillors were able to consider the relevant information, but if councillors are minded to accept in some way the process was faulty, the obvious remedy would be to convene another meeting of the development control committee to consider this matter as an agenda item. It is of concern to residents in Pakefield that the monitoring officer does not make reference to this.”

Tesco says a new store will create 20 jobs and benefit the area, but residents fear it will cause traffic problems and impact on shops.

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