National pizza chain wins fight against council to open new takeaway on busy Northampton town centre street

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Plans to open the chain were refused by the council in January but a Government appointed inspector has overruled that decision

A national pizza takeaway chain has won its appeal to move into a vacant building in the Cultural Quarter of Northampton.

Fireaway Pizza will open a new takeaway at the former Colemans stationery shop in St Giles' Street after successfully overturning West Northamptonshire Council's (WNC) initial refusal, which was made in January.

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Councillor Adam Brown, deputy leader of WNC, who campaigned against Fireaway's proposals, said he is “disappointed” at the outcome.

The former Colemans store in St Giles' StreetThe former Colemans store in St Giles' Street
The former Colemans store in St Giles' Street

He said: "It’s always disappointing when the planning inspector rules against a decision of the council and I feel the planning committee had good reason to deny permission in this instance.

"Obviously everyone has the right to appeal and in this case the applicant has been successful so I respect the outcome and I hope that Fireway Pizza do everything necessary to be a good neighbour to surrounding businesses and residents, and add to the appeal of the town centre."

The application was initially refused following objections from residents, business owners and councillors who all highlighted traffic concerns, the impact on the cultural quarter, the impact on independent businesses, a potential increase in litter, noise pollution and more.

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Fireaway Pizza has been granted planning permission following an appeal to move into the former Colemans store in St Giles' StreetFireaway Pizza has been granted planning permission following an appeal to move into the former Colemans store in St Giles' Street
Fireaway Pizza has been granted planning permission following an appeal to move into the former Colemans store in St Giles' Street

However, Chandra Bommidica, on behalf of Fireaway Pizza, appealed the decision, which led to an inspector appointed by central Government to assess the proposals.

The inspector said in his report: "The appeal site has been vacant for a prolonged period and is within a row that includes a number of other empty units.

"The proposal would reoccupy a vacant unit and retain an active commercial use.

"Moreover, the proposal would employ around 20 staff, creating a new employment activity helping to revitalise the high street and employment opportunities in the town.

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"Furthermore, being within a prominent corner location, the open views into the premises would add new interest to the street scene from relatively distant views

"I am… unconvinced that customers in vehicles, looking to park in the area, would need to queue in the highway waiting for a parking space. Even if they did, there is no evidence that such queueing would result in an adverse impact on highway safety. Accordingly, the proposal would not result in an impact, severe or otherwise, on highway safety.

"The proposed use would operate up to midnight. Whilst this may attract some late-night custom there is no substantive evidence that this would result in anti-social activity.

"Concerns have been raised by interested parties with respect to waste management and litter. The premises is of sufficient size to accommodate waste storage and management within its demise.

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"As such, the appeal is allowed, and planning permission granted subject to the attached conditions."

The takeaway's official operating hours are from 7am – midnight seven days a week.

Colemans had been trading in St Giles Street at the corner of Castilian Street since 1977.

But in January 2021, the family-owned store said it was closing for good following a "very difficult decision" not to renew the lease.