Bike Hire Shop Can’t Be Turned Into Flat

bike hire shopA Hugh Town property that’s been used as a bike hire shop for almost 30 years cannot be turned into a flat.

That was the decision of councillors at last Thursday’s Planning Committee meeting.

The owner of the shop at Lower Strand wanted to convert the ground-floor space into a two-bedroom apartment.

That involved changes to the front, including replacing doors with a bay window.

But Planning Officer Lisa Walton said there were several issues with the proposal.

It would create an ‘open market house’ with no controls on who could occupy it. That didn’t fit with the current Local Plan.

Lisa said it would be possible to put Section 106 agreement on the flat, to restrict the occupancy, but there were other problems.

The loss of retail space would impact on the “viability and vitality” of Hugh Town, she said, and recommended refusal.

Councillors were confused over the status of the business. The property has been empty since the end of last season.

The applicant stated that the current bike hire operator had decided to leave the premises because he felt the lease was too expensive.

They also said it would be unlikely that they could find another tenant, using the example of the former ‘Blues’ restaurant building in Hugh Town, which has been empty for two years.

But Cllr Christine Savill said she wasn’t aware the property was on the market and Cllr Richard McCarthy said he thought the current operator would be going back in soon.

Cllr Fran Grottick emphasised the loss of retail space that would result if the plans went through.

Councillors rejected the proposal unanimously.

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