Approval for French bar firm to open first branch outside country in old Northampton Ask Italian restaurant

Application was decided by officer instead of planning committee after councillor removed opposition

By Jack Duggan
Wednesday, 6th October 2021, 1:55 pm
Updated Wednesday, 6th October 2021, 1:56 pm

Approval has been given to convert the former Ask Italian restaurant in Northampton town centre into what appears to be a French bar company's first branch outside of the country.

The vacant St Giles Street building and the adjacent plot will become a V&B, which stands for Vins and Bieres, Wines and Beers in English, after getting West Northamptonshire Council backing.

A planning officer approved the application to change the use of the grade II-listed building, known as Mr Grants House, from a restaurant to a mixed use of drinking establishment and retail sales, principally of wine and beer, on Friday (October 1).

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Mr Grants House on St Giles Street, Northampton, has been vacant since Ask Italian did not reopen in June 2020 after the first coronavirus lockdown

The applicant also asked to place 34 chairs, 11 tables, three parasols and 10 planters on the area to the front of the buildings - Ask had 16 chairs and eight tables.

The application was originally going to be decided by the Northampton area planning committee after being 'called-in' by councillor Danielle Stone because of her concerns about its impact on the surrounding area.

But the Labour councillor for Castle removed her objection so the application was dealt with via delegated powers instead.

The decision notice says: "The proposed change of use and associated positioning of a small amount of external seating would have no adverse impact on the character of the area, the setting of any listed building, or the amenities of neighbouring and nearby residents and businesses."