Plans to renovate former Congleton town centre ink shop into café and dog grooming salon suffer setback

  Posted: 03.05.21 at 17:40 by Tom Avery  

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Plans to renovate a Congleton town centre shop into a café and a dog grooming salon have been knocked back due to the proposal not meeting the "relevant criteria" for it to be considered as permitted development.

Congleton resident Lindsay Willmore submitted a change of use application to Cheshire East Council to transform a disused ink shop in Mill Street, Congleton, into a pet-friendly café and salon.

The proposed development would have divided the 64sqm of the ground floor premises into two sections. Running a dog grooming salon in the back and a dog-friendly café at the front of the unit.

A statement to Cheshire East Council claimed the conversion would be of 'no loss' to the town's retail market as there are existing premises' 'stood empty' in the shopping area.

The application stated: "The shop as it stands has a scruffy exterior and was an abandoned ink shop. Nothing would be lost to the community as there was nothing special about this property.

"Just around the corner from the property there is a pedestrianised shopping area that at present has numerous retail properties up for rent in more prominent positions, so this property is of no loss to the retail sector."

According to Cheshire East, the application fell within Part 3, Changes of use, Class C of the General Development Procedure Order (GDPO) and was assessed against the relevant criteria.

The Class C criteria allows conversion of retail use to café/restaurant only, but the proposal was to create a dog grooming parlour which "didn't fall" within the prior approval criteria.

On these grounds a planning application would need to be submitted and approved by Cheshire East.

A Cheshire East planning officer stated in their report: "The proposal for a café complies with the conditions, limitations or restrictions applicable to
development permitted by Class C."

No objections to the application were received from the conservation officer, Congleton Town Council, Environmental Health, highways, archaeology or owners/occupiers of adjoining premises.

The planning officer's report concluded: "The proposal for a dog grooming parlour falls outside Class C prior approval criteria and on these bases the scheme would require planning permission."

The application was therefore refused.

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