Councillors Reject Another Plan To Convert Shop Space

man of war shopA plan to convert another Hugh Town shop to residential accommodation has been refused by planners.

The owners of Man of War on Lower Strand want to replace the current ground floor retail space with a one-bedroomed flat for use by key workers or those with local need.

The shop has been selling gifts and shipwreck artefacts since 1982, but the owners say the 25% drop in tourist numbers and the proliferation of more retail units on St Mary’s means it’s no longer viable.

They say the Council erected new shops at Porthcressa, permission was granted to extend craft workshops on the Industrial Estate and there’s a retail unit being planned for the newly refurbished quay.

This, they say, has “seriously fragmented” the spending power of visitors and had a “disastrous” effect on their shop’s income.

But Planning Officer Lisa Walton told councillors at Tuesday’s meeting that the owners hadn’t shown it was unviable and the proposal would result in harm to the main retail area of Scilly.

And a proposed rear window would overlook the newly built properties in Well Cross Lane.

She recommended refusing the plans.

Cllr Fran Grottick said the Council needed to be consistent after the neighbouring property, the Buccabu bike hire shop, also had a similar application turned down earlier this year.

That’s gone to appeal and Cllr Richard McCarthy said it would be “unwise” to approve these plans before the outcome of that was known.

Councillors voted unanimously to turn down the application.

5 Responses to Councillors Reject Another Plan To Convert Shop Space

  1. Todd Stevens November 27, 2015 at 11:28 pm

    No longer viable because of competition? Diversify or become more competative within the market place would be the normal response! However, the Buccabu bike shop was an extremely viable business that chose to sell up -and the Man of War was/is a unique business without a similar competitor on Scilly.

    • Auguste Rodin November 28, 2015 at 10:39 am

      A most valuable observation Todd however your perspective on the viability of the bicycle hire business based on your stated ethos of ‘adaption’, namely ‘diversify or become more competitive’ may be a little wide of the target. I put it to you for your further deliberation and comment that the burgeoning buggy hire business has easily eclipsed the demand for pedal power, banishing bicycle hire to see out the rest of its dwindling demand from the hinterlands of the “No Business Park” AKA the former industrial estate. I accept that on the face of it this is an ironic and cruel twist on the exhortation from former conservative minister lord Tebbit who urged the unemployed to “get on their bikes” but evidently people have chosen to ‘move with the times’.
      I am interested in your perspective on the question of oversight both literally and figuratively in regard to the principal reasoning for development refusal? do you, like me, believe that there are serious moral and ethical questions that should be addressed by our local council or indeed addressed to them by a higher authority?

  2. Uriah Heep November 27, 2015 at 7:29 pm

    Surely if council were advised that it was unwise they should have immediately passed it on the grounds of consistency?
    What about the customers and staff gawping at the residents next door and vice versa?
    If overlooking is an issue why did the council agree their own application (the council provided the land and has excusive tenant nomination rights) for the new development next door. The council by their actions as a developer have placed the adjacent property owner at a disadvantage through the council’s function as a planning authority. That just cannot be correct; it means that the same groups of elected members would have been responsible for all the development and subsequent planning decisions.

  3. melville November 27, 2015 at 5:13 pm

    Mary , what do you expect ? The Council GAVE this land away to the Housing Association (which of course was our money as ratepayers) so they are not going to refuse anything put to them by them . I presume that the tenants will get the ‘right to buy’ under the new government scheme after 10 years at a good discount. You couldn’t make it up ! .

  4. mary November 27, 2015 at 5:01 pm

    It seems crazy that one of the reasons for refusal was that it overlooks the new development! The Council must have thought it was ok to overlook when they approved the new housing . Its obviously alright for the new buildings to ovelook but not the existing. It does not make sense