Royston convenience store plans given go-ahead

PUBLISHED: 07:30 29 April 2013

Market Hill

Market Hill

Archant

CONTROVERSIAL plans for a new convenience store in Royston have been given the go-ahead after a successful appeal from the developers.

The scheme, which will see a retail unit and four flats built on the site of Royston’s old cattle market, on the corner of Fish Hill and Market Hill, had twice been turned down by North Herts District Council’s planning committee.

But developers the Manhattan Corporation appealled the decision to the Planning Inspectorate, who ruled that it should be allowed to go ahead, subject to conditions relating to the building materials used and the shop’s opening hours.

In his report, Inspector Tim Wood said: “I find that the proposal would represent a well-mannered addition to the conservation area, on this prominent site approaching the town centre.

“Its design and appearance would be neither bland nor stark, but would pay due regard to the positive elements of design within the conservation area. The scale, design and use of materials would be sympathetic to the close proximity of the Corn Exchange, the setting of which would be preserved by the proposal.”

Director of the Manhattan Corporation, Royston resident Colin Blundell, has previously held talks with Sainsbury’s, Co-op and Waitrose about the project.

He was unavailable for comment on the result of the appeal, but the Crow understands that a tenant has yet to be confirmed for the site.

Campaigners had fought a long battle against the scheme, which they say will overpower the adjacent Corn Exchange and cause traffic problems in the town centre.

Clive Porter, one of those opposed to the store, said: “I think this will be a disaster for the town. Traffic will be gridlocked and I expect we’ll see other shops go out of business.”

Cllr Tom Brindley, North Herts District Council’s portfolio holder for planning, said: “After reviewing the application, the Planning Inspectorate decided that the proposed development would be acceptable to the surrounding area. Specific conditions regarding the appearance of the building, noise concerns and other issues have been included and we accept the decision.”

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