Strand Bike Hire Shop Conversion Rejected By Planning Inspector
But the Planning Inspector didn’t uphold the Council’s argument that it would affect the retail viability of Hugh Town.
The scheme, to create a two-bedroom ground floor apartment, was first rejected by Scilly’s Planning Committee in February last year.
They said that it would create an ‘open market’ home with no controls on who would occupy it and result in a loss of retail space in the town.
Planners also felt the conversion would affect the privacy of two new social housing units being built behind, at Well Cross.
The application was resubmitted in March 2015, addressing some of those concerns, but was again rejected.
The applicant took the case to appeal, and a planning inspector, Nick Fagan, visited Scilly in February to assess the application.
Mr Fagan rejected the scheme, because he said it would “give rise to unacceptable living conditions either for the neighbours or the proposed flat’s occupiers.”
He also said the lack of a Section 106 agreement restricting the flat’s occupancy to key workers was contrary to the Local Plan.
But controversially, the inspector rejected the Council’s argument that the loss of a retail unit would harm the viability of Hugh Town as a shopping centre.
Mr Fagan said most of the properties on The Strand are used as residential accommodation.
And he said it does, “not seem surprising that a retail unit in this location may struggle to be viable,” given the islands’ population of only approximately 2,000 people and the loss of the helicopter service.
The ruling could call into question other recent decisions made by the Council to reject the conversion of retail space into residential accommodation.
In November, a plan to convert the neighbouring ‘Man of War ‘ shop on The Strand into a one-bedroom flat was turned down, again partly because of the loss of retail space.
At the time, Cllr Richard McCarthy said it would be “unwise” to approve the plans before the outcome of the Buccabu planning appeal was known.