This type of application is always difficult to assess as it provides inadequate relevant information in many areas of most concern to residents.
To take the first of the two purposes proposed if change of use is granted. Restaurant use raises concerns about smells and noise from kitchens. These premises are very close to peoples’ homes and sleeping areas. A further concern raise by food outlets is the arrangements for the disposal of waste and in particular food waste both in terms of where and how it is stored on the premises and where and for how long it is placed outside for collection.
Use as a bar raises much greater concern for residents. The creation of a new substantial bar is at odds with the councils frequently cited but rarely invoked policies and position statements on the cumulative impact of more licensed premises in the city centre. Bars of the size this applicant appears to be proposing in our experience will cause a number of problems the most common being noise, anti-social behavior and litter.
Again it is difficult to assess the likely impact of this particular bar proposal. All applicants in our experience assert that their bar will:
· Operate reasonable hours
· Be primarily food based
· Be targeted at the sort of upmarket customers who don’t get drunk or behave badly
· Be very high quality
· Be very well supervised
· Be operated in such a way that neighbours are not disturbed by noise or smells from the building
Most do not deliver against their promises and the planning authority does and perhaps can do little about that.
We also see a pattern of applicants following up initial planning applications with successive applications which erode and undermine their original reassurances.