Decision on plan to knock down Sheffield pub taken out of council's hands
A Government planning inspector will decide whether or not a Sheffield pub can make way for a food shop after the city council took too long to make a ruling.
The Co-operative Group has taken its plans to knock down the Cherry Tree in Carterknowle Avenue and build a shop in its place to appeal for 'non-determination'.
This is when the decision-making body - in this case Sheffield Council - does not grant or refuse planning permission within eight weeks.
The Cherry Tree plans - which attracted strong local opposition - were validated by the council on November 8 last year. The Co-op agreed to extend the decision deadline to February 17 this year, but this passed without a ruling either way.
A Co-op spokesman said: “We have decided to appeal for non-determination of our planning application, and we look forward to the response from the council.”
Two petitions against the Co-op's plans attracted more than 800 signatures between them, and 35 people objected to the council directly.
The decision has now been taken out of the authority's hands. But council officers say the plans should have been refused, partly because of 'poor urban design' and partly because the pub is now listed as an 'asset of community value', or ACV, following a campaign by locals.
ACV status means a building cannot be demolished or converted without planning permission, and the community would have six months in which to make an offer if it were to go on sale.
Councillors will tomorrow be asked to endorse their officers' views ahead of the planning inspector's decision.
A report to the planning committee says the decision was delayed while the ACV application was considered. Although not part of the planning process, officers said the ACV application had a 'material bearing' on the Cherry Tree proposal.
Officers said the loss of the pub would have an ' unacceptable negative impact on the social wellbeing and interests of the local community'.
The report adds: "Although a need for a convenience store in this location has been reasonably demonstrated, insufficient justification has been provided to satisfy officers that this need is such as to warrant the loss of a designated asset of community value."
Officers said the 'robustness' of the council's process in deciding ACVs meant the status had considerable weight when decided planning applications.
An initial ACV application for the Cherry Tree was rejected earlier this year, but the council approved a revised application in May, agreeing that there was enough proof in the second submission that the pub was a valuable social hub and there would be a 'significant impact' on regulars should it close.
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