Barrowford cafe plan rejected

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Pendle Council’s Development Management Committee has refused permission for change of use on a property in Gisburn Road, Barrowford.

A planning application to the council asked for permission to change the recently-opened Tea Time shop from Use Class A1, retail as a former travel agents, to Use Class A3, non-shopping use as a cafe.

Pendle Council planning officer Neil Watson had recommended refusal of the application on the grounds it was a significant departure of council policy as another non-shopping unit in Barrowford’s primary shopping area would take the percentage of non-shop frontage to 39%, much higher than the council’s preferred level of 25%.

Dozens of people had signed a petition in favour of the change.

Councillors from all sides of the table commended owner Rachel Farrar on her entrepreneurial flair, the occupation of a previously empty unit, and for creating jobs and bringing something new to Barrowford.

However, despite support, it was refused at the vote due to fears that granting permission for the change would set a precedent across the borough.

Currently Mrs Farrar is operating predominantly as a shop selling gifts, specialist teas and china, but would ideally would have liked to introduce more tables and make it more like a cafe.

Ahead of Wednesday’s decisive meeting, she said: “I’ve always had the plan to open a tea shop. It’s ludicrous to say a shop front which is 4 m. wide will make the difference of over 15%.”

Barrowford Parish Council had given the tea shop their backing and on September 8th, councillors at Pendle’s Council Barrowford and Western Parishes Committee voted in favour of the shop changing from a travel agents to a cafe, saying that although it was a significant departure from council policy, the shop would be a tourism boost.