Planning decision halted for legal advice
Planners have halted making a decision on plans to alter a former Mencap building alongside a busy main road in Barnsley while they seek legal advice on the implications of their decision.
Councillors also want to visit the location, in Burton Road, Monk Bretton, before making a decision on whether to allow the changes.
Their decision is complicated because although changes to the building would be relatively modest, with plans to remove single storey extensions and one corner of the building, there are concerns that could open it up for use as a shop.
Residents in the area have raised concerns that could cause traffic problems, because although the changes to the building would create an additional parking space outside, it is claimed there would be insufficient access for delivery vehicles on, what they say, is a busy stretch of road.
Initially, councillors were told they must decide the application only on the grounds of the physical changes to the structure and not what impact that might have on future applications.
An application made earlier this year included a change of use to retail in addition to changes to the building, but that was withdrawn before it was considered by councillors.
Coun Ken Richardson told a meeting of the council’s planning board: “The applications are exactly the same except for the change of use. In the previous application, it was going to be a 7/11. There is no way a wagon could get in there.”
Coun Joe Hayward said: “It is right on the bend and is dangerous. I think it may be in the interest of members to go and have a look. I don’t think we can make a judgement from the information in front of us.”
Head of planning Joe Jenkinson told the meeting the situation was “quite tricky for members and officers”, with changes to planning rules some years ago allowing pubs to be turned into convenience stores without fresh planning permission.
Current regulations meant a shop could only be operated from premises for up to two years without needing permanent planning permission and Mr Jenkinson suggested the decision should be deferred until further legal advice could be sought.