LETTER: Plea to reject application

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During 2015, an application was made to convert the former Thomas Eggar offices within the Corn Exchange, Baffins Lane, into a massive café/restaurant.

There was substantial public opposition including from Chichester District Council’s (CDC) own Environmental Officer. Certain CDC councillors demanded that the application be considered by the full planning committee.

The application was withdrawn.

I was therefore dismayed to be made aware ‘through the jungle drum’ that an application for 150 covers had been received with the premises open for 15 hours daily. The application to be decided under delegated powers. The planning officer recommended acceptance.

How can this happen?

Does the planning officer have no regard to the history of the site?

Objections have been lodged by Chichester District Council; The Chichester Society; Chichester Conservation Area Advisory Committee; local residents and retailers. The result is that the application was due to be decided by the full planning committee on December 7.

The Office for National Statistics published data this week identifying 15,830 eateries opened in 2015 but 12,605 closed. Analyst Peter Bachman stated that developers often sought to squeeze too much capacity from their premises and provide more venues than demand could sustain. I trust that our councillors will reject the application and defend our heritage; establish a commercial balance between retail and eateries and value our independently owned businesses.

Keith Mitchelson

St John’s Street

Chichester