A contentious application to convert part of the historic Corn Exchange into a 150-seater café was approved today.
It means part of the Grade II listed building in Baffins Lane, Chichester, will become a large Boston Tea Party eatery.
Six members of Chichester District Council’s planning committee members voted in favour, with four against and one abstaining.
The application was recommended for approval but had been called in for a committee decision today, Wednesday, March 29, after attracting scores of objections from residents neighbouring the city centre building.
Addressing his fellow committee members, cllr Richard Plowman said: “I counted recently there are 72 different places to get a coffee in Chichester, that’s 72 places.
“If this had been anywhere in the main streets it would have not been allowed because we would have exceeded the 25 per cent allocation for this type of use.”
Representations from residents included Mike Jennings, who urged the committee to respect the conservation area.
“We’re not nimbys opposed to any development, we would like to see this lovely Grade II listed building in use, but feel this is the wrong use for this area,” he said.
Concerns raised at the meeting ranged from noise and traffic disruption to the economic impact on other cafés in the city centre.
But officers said it was not within the remit of the council to decide for the market and there were no grounds for refusal on the basis of highways and environmental health reports.
More reaction and detail will be in tomorrow’s Observer.