Planners criticised for lack of Caffè Nero action inMarlborough
3:00pm Friday 7th September 2012 in Latest News
Town councillors in Marlborough have accused planners of dragging their heels over enforcement action against Caffè Nero. The coffee chain opened a branch in the High Street in April without planning permission. Its planning application for change of use of the former fashion shop was refused by Wiltshire planners on July 19.
The coffee shop continues to trade and Marlborough Town Council committee members have expressed concern that Wiltshire Council is not taking enforcement action to close the business.
Planning officers had recommended approval of Caffè Nero’s application for change of use of the former Dash clothes store.
But members of the East Wiltshire planning committee overturned their officers’ recommendation and refused to grant consent.
When it was announced that Caffè Nero was planning to open at 21-22 High Street there was an outcry that the town already had more than 20 places where coffee could be purchased, which was supported by the local chamber of commerce.
It was claimed that small independent coffee shops would suffer with the opening of another major national chain. Town councillor Rich Pitts told the East Wiltshire planning meeting that Caffè Nero “was arrogant and using bully boy tactics” to get its way.
On Monday, Coun Pitts told the town council planning committee that planning officers should have issued an enforcement notice 28 days after the decision to refuse permission and said Wiltshire Council’s delay “creates the wrong impression for these planning cheats”.
Wiltshire Council spokesman Sean Chacksfield said: “An enforcement notice was issued on August 8 which will take effect on September 19 unless an appeal is made against it beforehand. “Compliance with the notice will need to happen three months from the date the notice takes effect.
“Between July 19 and August 8 the enforcement notice was drawn up, legally checked to ensure its wording was correct and valid.
“We give applicants reasonable time to appeal the notice – 28 days is the absolute minimum required.”