Agenda item

21/02116/FUL: Balkan Bites, 206 London Road, Grays, Essex, RM17 5YP


The report was presented by the Principal Planner. 


Councillor Halden thanked the officer for the report and enquired as to what made the proposed application potentially worse than its previous use as a launderette. The Principal Planner explained this use would result in peaks  of people attending especially at lunch times and in the evening whereas as a launderette the number of people using the service would be more consistent throughout the day without those peaks


During discussions Councillor Polley commented the photos which showed the property excluded a bus stop and a parade of shops she further mentioned there had always been an issue with traffic along London Road, and to refuse the application with regards to highways seemed confusing as any use would increase the traffic movement. The Highways Engineer advised members that a few years ago officers did look at the resident parking issue which included vehicles being parked outside of neighbour’s properties and inappropriate parking on double yellow lines and driveways.


Councillor Watson sought clarification as to the use of the property over the last six years and further mentioned the traffic issue for London Road was the HGVs using the road as access to Purfleet. Officers advised the last use of the property had been as a launderette and for the last six years had been vacant.


Following a query from Councillor Halden, Members were advised that officers suspected the 600 signature petition was that of perhaps the wider area rather than those in the immediate area who would be immediately impacted upon by the use. There were however nine online comments in objection to the application as part of the consultation process.


Members of the Planning Committee sought clarification as to the parking provision should the application be approved and queried as to whether it would be general parking in nearby streets. Officers advised in along with the application there were to be three parking spaces available.


Speaker statements were heard from:


  • Mr Bacon, Resident in Support
  • Mr Taylor, Resident in Objection


During the debate all members agreed they had a concern with regards to traffic movement down London Road and parking facilities for the application. That being said members also highlighted that should residents go to the restaurant of an evening it was likely that they would use public transport or taxing.


Councillor Byrne stated he would be in favour of approving the application as it was investing money into the Borough and providing jobs for local people.


Councillor Piccolo commented if the property was still trading as a launderette there would still be continuous traffic movements as people would drop off and return. He commented that listening to residents, there was a need for the restaurant in the area.


Councillor Watson commented as a Ward Councillor she knew there was a restaurant further up London Road which coped even with the traffic pressures. She continued by saying the property had been vacant for six years and the application would give a business a chance with the majority of people not driving and more likely using public transport, and for reason she was mindful to approve the application.


The Chair thanked Members for their comments and moved to propose the officer’s recommendation and was seconded by the Vice-Chair.


For: (2) Councillors Tom Kelly (Chair and Steve Liddiard (Vice-Chair),


Against: (5) Councillors Gary Byrne, James Halden, Terry Piccolo, Georgette Polley and Lee Watson


Abstained (0)


Councillor Halden proposed that the application be approved on the grounds that the property was in a highly urbanised area, with excellent public transport links therefore concerns with parking could be mitigated. He continued by commenting that in relation to loss of amenity the property had been vacant for six years, therefore there was no amenity and the application proposed offered regeneration in the area, which could be a benefit to local residents.


The Assistant Director of Planning, Transport and Public Protection advised the committee that in line with the constitution should a recommendation not be agreed then an alternative recommendation was to be put forward, which has been submitted by Councillor Halden. He continued by stating he had listened to the debate and discussion had by Members and had made a note of their concerns.


The Assistant Director of Planning, Transport and Public Protection summed up by advising should the committee approve the application conditions would need to be agreed by the Chair and applied to the application.


Councillor Halden proposed a recommendation in approval and was seconded by Councillor Polley.


For: (5) Councillors Gary Byrne, James Halden, Terry Piccolo, Georgette Polley and Lee Watson


Against: (2) Councillors Tom Kelly (Chair and Steve Liddiard (Vice-Chair)


Abstained (0)


Councillor Rigby was unable to vote on the application as she arrived after the discussion had begun.


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