Families fight to stop Elm Hill cake and champagne boutique

Families living in Norwich's Elm Hill have successfully prevented permission from being granted for a cake and champagne boutique to open in the historic street.

Former Norwich South Conservative MP Dr Thomas Stuttaford was among those who live in the street who convinced members of the city council's planning committee not to allow a change of use for 39, Elm Hill.

Applicant Rebecca Taylor, from Hoveton, had asked the city council for planning permission to change the use for the building from a shop on all floors to a bakery/cafe on the ground floor, a shop on the first floor and offices on the second floor.

The applicant had said it would be a 'high end' boutique, specialising in baked goods and champagne, but families living nearby baulked at the idea of the cafe section being allowed to be open until 10pm.

A 27-signature petition was collected against the proposal and at yesterday's planning meeting, people from the historic street said they feared such a shop would create noise and detract from the character of the street.

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Dr Stuttaford, who was Norwich South MP from 1970 to 1974, told the meeting: 'People living in Elm Hill, almost without exception, do not want this.'

Anne Murawski, who lives next door, told councillors she feared the real intention behind the application was to create 'a vertical drinking bar' which would shatter the peace and quiet of a street she described as commercial by day and residential by night.

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Council officers, who had recommended approval, said such a bar plan would require a different type of planning permission, along with a premises license, and pointed out that was not the application before the committee.

But councillors decided to reject the proposal on the grounds it would impact on the character of a conservation area and create a noise nuisance.

Stephen Little, Green city councillor for Town Close, said: 'Because Elm Hill is such a unique place, we have to be more vigilant than we would normally be.'

He added the buildings in Elm Hill were not built to be as sound proofed as modern buildings and feared the neighbours would have to put up with extra noise from people using the cafe in the evenings.

Planning officers had warned that the council might struggle to defend an appeal if members turned down the proposal, but, to applause from the Elm Hill campaigners, they voted to reject it.

• Do you think the right decision was made? Write to Evening News Letters, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE or email eveningnewsletters@archant.co.uk

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