Planners have approved an application to turn a Beer shop into a one-bedroom apartment – because it is no longer viable as a business.
East Devon District Council has granted conditional approval for the change of use of The Treasure Chest, in Fore Street, after hearing that lack of footfall was impacting the shop’s ability to trade as a going concern.
Beer Parish Council ‘with some reluctance’ recommended the application for approval. It said the Neighbourhood Plan supported the loss of some commercial premises – if they could be proven to be unviable.
Another trader in the village supported the plan, saying they had sympathy with the shop’s owner.
Even a visitor to the village wrote to the district council offering their support.
An objection was raised on the grounds that the loss of the shop would be harmful to the village, among other reasons.
The shop is in a Conservation Area and two flood zones, and a report prepared by a planning officer said efforts to retain the historic character of the shop front were supported. Changes would be ‘minimal’ and not impact important buildings in the immediate vicinity.
It also stated local charities and organisation had been contacted about leasing the shop but no interest had been expressed, pointing to the premises being an unviable shop.
In its conclusion, the report states: “The proposed change of use of the shop represents a degree of harm to the vitality and viability of the village of Beer which is generally resisted by planning policies. However, the application is supported by adequate evidence and assessment to indicate all the relevant policy tests relating to the loss of a shop and employment site are met…”
It continues: “There being no unacceptable visual impacts on heritage assets or impact on highway safety, the proposal is considered to represent sustainable development.”