Takeaway for gym-goers and Portuguese cafe to replace former Northampton charity shop
'When you've got someone who has a use for the property, I don't know why they would object'
A 'healthy' takeaway aimed at gym-goers and a Portuguese cafe will be replacing a former charity shop in Northampton with two flats above.
The plans to fill the vacant Cynthia Spencer Hospice store on St Leonards Road will the two new businesses and properties were approved by West Northamptonshire Council last month.
Jabeer Miah, who acted as the agent for the applicants, is pleased the local authority supported the schemes but was frustrated by the concerns some planning committee members made during the meeting.
"I just feel the council sometimes makes it so difficult and people don't bother which is why the high street is dying," he said.
"But St Leonards Road is booming because of the university campus, although one of the banks has been empty for years and the charity shops have gone so the council should be trying to encourage business."
Food to get people pumped at the gym will be on the menu at the takeaway, which will be run by two fitness enthusiasts currently agreeing a lease with the landlord.
While the cafe will be filled with homemade sandwiches and baked goods inspired by Portuguese cuisine - an extension is being built for a new disabled toilet.
The first floor will be divided into two one-bed flats - the council's Northampton area planning committee approved the plans by two votes to one, with the rest abstaining, on September 7.
Mr Miah thinks it was unfair some councillors abstained but was delighted to get the go-ahead for his clients, as recommended by the unitary council's planning officer..
The planning officer's report stated: "The principle of residential development is accepted, and the conversion of the existing unit into two units assists the vitality and viability of the local centre.
"It is not considered that the proposal would harm the character and appearance of the existing building or street scene, acceptable living conditions are provided and the scheme would not have an unacceptable impact upon neighbouring amenity."
Far Cotton and Delapre Community Council, unitary councillor Emma Roberts and a resident objected to the application.
The community council argued a highway survey was needed to address parking needs and a decision should not be made without this.
The unitary council's highways department agreed as the proposal could cause an increased level of demand for on-street parking - but one could not be done during the coronavirus pandemic.
Councillor Roberts was worried about the number of HMO-equivalent (houses of multiple occupancy) properties in the area, the impact on parking and the presentation of flat roofs and water runoff/drainage.
The resident that wrote to the council was concerned about there not being a need for any more takeaways as they cause noise, parking and traffic issues in the area.
Mr Miah said the flats would not be HMOs and believes there are lots of takeaways in the area because that is what people want as eating habits have changed.
"On that road you've got Cynthia Spencer and two other charity shops all sitting empty so the council should be encouraging people to bring these properties into use," he added.
"It seems like if one charity shop goes, then they all go, which was created by Covid but when you've got someone who has a use for the property, I don't know why they would object."