3 planning applications in Rayleigh High Street were all passed at last week’s Development Committee – but only after a lot of discussion.
This was the rather surprising application which would allow the landlord (at the end of the current leases) to convert the estate agent and “New Look” into a bigger retail unit and allow the use of Santander Bank as a cafe or restaurant. Many councillors felt that having a bank there added more vitality to the High Street than yet another eating place however there were no strong policies to base a refusal on, so it was passed.
This doesn’t mean that Santander will be replaced by a restaurant, it just allows the possibility.
This was an application to allow the old art shop at the entrance of Berry’s Arcade to become a financial or profession premises. There was more discussion here , with Cllrs Jack Lawmon and Chris Black arguing that the application should be refused. Council planning policy here is to have a target of 50% retail use in this part of the town centre but the figure was already down to 48%. However the scheme was passed by 12 votes to 10.
This was an application for the new Pizza Express to have outside tables. This was quite controversial, partly because Rayleigh Town Council were concerned about making the pavement too narrow. However it was given a temporary 3 year permission, with a condition that the tables and seating have to be removed on market days.