I have recently received a number of emails from people interested in an application by Carluccio’s, the well-known Italian deli and restaurant, to open in one of the vacant sites on the High Street in Cobham. Virtually all the people who took the trouble to write to me were in favour of the application, and all believed that I have some power to influence the decision.
The initial decision is taken by a planning officer by applying national and local planning law to the application. He has refused the application, for the following reasons:
|The proposed application would result in the percentage of non-retail frontages within a designated Town Centre location to exceed the 33% threshold as defined within saved policy STC6 of the Replacement Elmbridge Borough Local Plan 2000, furthermore given the prominent location of the existing retail unit, insufficient justification has been provided to warrant departing from this saved policy. It is therefore considered to result in harm to the prime retail function and the retail vitality and viability of Cobham Town Centre.|
|Reason:||S106 Code of Practice Reason for Refusal The application does not propose to make any payments for Infrastructure and Service Contributions in accordance with the Council’s Section 106 Code of Practice for Planning Infrastructure Contributions, which took effect for new proposals submitted after 1 July 2007. This code was prepared as a collaboration with Surrey County Council and other Surrey Districts after consultation in order to take account of the cumulative impact of small scale developments and was commended in the Panel Report on the South East Plan. As a result the proposal is also contrary to saved Policies GEN4, HSG1 and LER4 of the Replacement Elmbridge Borough Local Plan 2000, Policy DN1 of the Surrey Structure Plan 2004, Policy LF5 of the emerging South East Plan (as proposed to be amended by the Panel) and national advice in Circular 05/2005.|
As a Councillor I have no input into this decision. The town centre does not fall within the ward which I represent and accordingly I do not have the power to promote this decision to the West Area Planning Sub-Committee. Only those councillors who do represent the relevant ward (Cobham Downside) may do so.
So for the time being at least, the nearest Carluccio’s will remain the one in Esher, which I can personally recommend, having celebrated a recent High Court victory there with my wife. Food and service are excellent!