American diner’s planning appeal

A DEVELOPER’S battle with North Somerset Council to open a Frankie and Benny’s and a Costa Coffee on the edge of Weston saw fresh developments this week.

Cranford Developments has appealed against the unitary authority’s decision to refuse its plan for the Italian-American restaurant and coffee house at Flowerdown Retail Park.

Council officers turned down the planning application last month, saying they feared the outlets would attract trade away from the town centre.

However, in documents sent to the Government’s planning inspectorate, the developer argued the stores would not divert ‘significant trade, investment and expenditure’ from the town.

A spokesman for the firm said: “The provision of food and drinks facilities, such as Costa and Frankie, are commonly found at retail parks across the country and are widely accepted to be complementary facilities to the main retail offer.

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“For this reason, the proposed retail units will not encourage an increase in the number of vehicle trips to the existing retail park, but will facilitate the more efficient use of an exciting retail destination.

“Also, there are a significant number of residents living close to the units as well as workers and shoppers visiting other retail facilities.”

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The firm also highlighted that permission had been given for a caf� at the B&Q store on the park’s opening.

In a report for refusal of the planning application, North Somerset Council’s case officer Andrew Stevenson said: “It will undoubtedly attract customers that are not visiting the retail units and will become a destination in its own right – attracting trade and expenditure that would otherwise be directed to the town centre.”

The decision, however, was slammed by the chairman of the town’s Chamber of Trade, Chris Knight.

Mr Knight, who also runs Living Homes in Dolphin Square, branded the refusal ‘an opportunity missed’, arguing the stores would bring more people to the town.

A decision on the developer’s appeal is not expected until July.

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