Bid to turn Southend bank into florist rejected

A developer’s bid to transform a bank into a florist and café has been rejected, as a councillor insists “another café and another florist isn’t needed”.

The planning application sought to change the Natwest bank on The Broadway in Thorpe Bay, Southend, into a florist with an adjoining café.

However, the plans from applicant Charles Brannan were found to be missing crucial details and were ultimately refused planning permission by Southend Council’s planning officers.

Three letters of objection explained that there are already 14 businesses nearby offering food and drink and five where flowers and plants can be bought.

Councillor Ron Woodley (Ind), who represent Thorpe Bay, said: “We are very fortunate in Thorpe Bay to have The Broadway, as well as the local shops on Woodgrange Drive and Lidl just outside our boundary.

“We have estates agents, opticians, florists and knick-knack shops, it really is quite diverse and under usual circumstances it is always busy which is good to see. We have to make sure that we keep the right balance of stores to attract people to the area and I think officers made the right decision here.

“This was the wrong place. We do not need another café and we don’t need another florist.”

Issues were also raised about the potential increase in problems with parking.

Mr Woodley added that he trusts the judgement of planning officers who have been making many of the key planning decisions whilst meetings are suspended due to Covid-19.

“I trust the officers implicitly on decisions and if I do if I have concerns, I write in, but I always say leave it to officers to make the final decision.”

Among the issues highlighted by the planning team was a floor plan showing no alterations to the inside of the building, despite a clear indication that a kitchen would be needed for a café, along with additional ventilation.

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Steve Shaw

Local Democracy Reporter