Green light for vegan café and takeaway at former Honiton TIC building

Honiton’s former Tourist Information Centre can be transformed into a vegan café and takeaway after plans for the premises were given the go-ahead.

Proposals for a plant-based eatery – including indoor and outdoor seating – at the single-storey building in the Lace Walk car park won over district council decision-makers.

Officers ruled the business would boost the ‘viability and vitality’ of the town centre.

Applicant Petra Bright had asked East Devon District Council (EDDC) for permission for a change-of-use to a café/restaurant with 20 internal seats and associated takeaway.

The proposals also included an outdoor area on the south side of the building with seating for 16 people.

The vacant building was last used as an office.

Honiton resident Mrs Bright, who opened The Accidental Vegan Café in New Street in 2017, says in the proposals that her current premises is ‘too small’ and she hopes to move to a larger property.

Plans say the café will be open from 10am to 9pm Monday to Saturday and 10am to 3pm on Sundays.

It will have two full-time and two part-time employees, according to the proposals.

Granting the application planning permission under delegated powers, an EDDC officer said: “The development occupies a site within the town centre area but is not defined as primary shopping frontage.

“The proposed mixed A3/A5 use is considered to be an acceptable town centre use that would add to the vitality of the area and the viability of the town centre.

“There are some residential properties nearby, but, subject to conditions to control opening hours and means of extraction as well as to control the extent of external seating, the proposal is considered to have a limited and acceptable impact.”

Honiton Town Council unanimously backed the bid in January, but members did express some safety concerns over the outdoor seating and asked for more details.

Environmental health chiefs said they had ‘no concerns’ in relation to the proposals and said of the vegan café: “This style of cooking is unlikely to be associated with off-site odours as the hot food is not likely to involve cooking with hot oil or spices as other takeaways do.”

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