Planning application for Royston shop rejected

NHDC offices in Letchworth

NHDC offices in Letchworth - Credit: Archant

A planning application for a shop in Royston which listed its address as a property in Liverpool has been rejected.

The plan, for change of use of the former Garden House Hospice shop in High Street, has been rejected by North Herts District Council.

Owners of the shop had been seeking to change use from retail to allow cafe or restaurant, as well as housing or office space.

The potential change of use for the building led to a group of retailers getting together for meetings to look at ways of improving retail in Royston.

Royston Town Council’s planning committee recommended that the scheme be refused at its meeting last week.

Cllr Bob Smith, Royston’s mayor, said: “The district council had already refused it because it was too general. It was a full planning application with no detail of how they were going to achieve what they wanted to do. The design statement that was included stated the shop was in Liverpool.

“There were several other issues such as refuse storage on the pavement in Upper King’s Street.

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“It was terrible, my recommendation was that the applicant should withdraw it and sit down and talk with planning officers to come up with sensible plan.

“We were totally confused as to what they were asking for and strongly recommended refusal.”

The Garden House Hospice shop moved earlier this year to the premises formerly occupied by the Stead and Simpson shoe shop.

Cllr Smith added that the committee was opposed to more cafes or restaurants opening in the High Street.

He said: “This building would not be suitable for use as a cafe or restaurant, enough is enough.”

Clive Porter, who organised the retailers meeting, has formed an action group called Save The Town, and handed in a petition against the change-of-use application to the district council’s headquarters in Letchworth GC.

He said: “We must have a serious formula to the future of branding Royston as a commercial day time sector. We have recently witnessed four brave new recruits to the retail section of this town, and it is essential they are backed up by strong support from the various business groups.

“We should not relinquish the great trading heritage of this wonderful Hertfordshire centre, on the whims of a few individuals.”