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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1 comment

  • We have been privileged to witness an absolute master-class in smoke & mirrors as the applicant with it's agents convinced the Officers of the Council and others to seek PRE-DETERMINATION of a planning application by TELLING the ELECTED COUNCILLORS HOW TO VOTE, whilst totally ignoring the wishes & desires of the local electorate & many facts regarding the case. We have to be grateful that the D.C.C. elected Councillors chose to challenge the Officers of the Council and brought common sense to the debate albeit the Officers of the Council still appear to be working on behalf of the applicant by advising what steps they (Tesco) now need to take The applicant has however, with the assistance of the Officers of the Council acheived what they set out to do. Precedent exists where Tesco have submitted a full planning application at the request of a Borough Council in order to address traffic concerns demonstrating that it is for Councillors and Officers, within the framework of planning Law, to determine what they beleive is the correct treatment of an application - not applicants. It is NOT just about Tesco, it would apply to any organisation seeking to rip the guts out of an historic icon at the centre of our village, that could, with the Councils help, become a very valuable Assett of Community Value. Once the damage is done, it is irreversible. Look at the outcome so far. A dominant force in retail intending to impose itself upon the locality, will in so doing destroy the livlihood of many small local family run businesses and put more people out of work than any promises made of extra jobs. The Officers of the Council have been hoodwinked by the superior abilities of the agent for the applicant as has Counsel from whom the Officers sought advice. Advice is opinion - Opinion is not Law. None of what has been seen is backed by case Law. Some documents submitted opposing the application were witheld from Public Access website and sent to the agents of the applicant to be effectively rubbised before posting them thereon. When is a Hotel NOT a Hotel? The answer has to be when it is called Tramway Hotel as decided by those who see it as primarily as a public house ' A4 ' (Drinking Establishment) with letting rooms ancillary to same. This is NOT the case as the accomodation business of six rooms at the Hotel offers facilities that eceed the requirements to be classified as a ' C1 ' (Hotel) in it's own right. It is therefore reasonable and justifiable to take the attitude that the premises be classified "sui generis" mixed-use ' C1A4 ', as formally recommended by Waveney District Council, and is the position adopted by DCC members on 2 April 2014. As such. Tesco would be required to submit a full planning application with the inherent tests implicit in that. This is something they have sought to avoid from the outset. Treating the Tramway Hotel as mixed-use ' C1A4 ' is within the judgement of Officers and Councillors alike and they should not fear an appeal and it's associated costs. There is very little case Law to substantiate Tesco's position and plenty of evidence to demonstrate that mixed-use ' C1A4 ' is justified with reference to facts. To do otherwise would create a dangerous precedent that could have unintended consequences elsewhere in the Waveney & Suffolk coastal area. In the main, the problems for the Council have NOT been the fault of the Councillors. They are as a result of failure of the Officers of the Council to challenge the application initially and advise Councillors accordingly. The Officers when faced with the planning application basically rolled over to allow Tesco to ride rough-shod over them. Tramway Hotel - December 2012. Council ruled that "Change of Use" was required of Tesco. Tramway Hotel. Full change of use needed. Tramway Hotel is C1A4 mixed use. It is NOT a pub with letting rooms. Tramway Hotel. Waveney lets the public down by bad advice. Advice is only an opinion. Opinion is NOT LAW. COUNCILLORS DECIDE - Officers ADVISE. BOTH votes from 2nd April 2014 (INCLUDING THE GRANTED PLANNING PERMISSION) should now be quashed and the matter refered back to the D.C.C. for further consideration as Agenda items with due allowance for all matters to be discussed including the right of Councillors to decide and for the Officers of the Council NOT BEING ALLOWED TO PRE-DETERMINE THE OUTCOME.

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    Block & Tackle

    Wednesday, April 23, 2014

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