On 2nd March 2006, the Richmond Council Planning Committee Meeting gave ‘conditional permission’ for the proposed wine bar in the basement formerly occupied by Phelps.
The meeting was held before a completely full room. After speakers for both sides, councillor questions and planning’s advice, the application was conditionally approved by a 5-3 vote, with local councillors Cllr Hambidge supporting and Cllrs Lamb and Trigg (Twickenham Riverside) against. The ‘conditions’ are that; a Travel Plan is agreed, Air Conditioning plans are approved, only a 2am New Year’s license is given and only ‘personal permission’ is given.
Personal Permission, meaning that planning permission is only given to one of the principles of the wine bar and if they leave the venture for any reason, the new owner would have to get another planning approval, is considered a protection against the sale or change of the venue into something else, but also a potentially tough limit to the applicants, making it harder for them to raise money.
After some initial introductions and hearing some amendments to the Planning Officers Report and some guidance, three people spoke in support of the Wine Bar and three people against. Additionally, St Margarets Councillor David Porter submitted a letter requesting ‘refusal’ as did the Richmond Council Leader, Councillor Tony Arbour.
The arguments against the wine bar focused around the following issues: noise from the operation of the wine bar, noise from customers leaving late in the evening, traffic issues, parking issues, the sheer size and number of covers and a general concern that it would be un-neighborly. Arguments for the wine bar were that it was run by locals – for local people, that most customers would come by bus, train or walking, that they wanted to be part of the local community, work with local traders and be an oasis for men and especially women who didn’t want to have to use pubs and restaurants to socialise.
The Planning Officer, Mr. Tankard then took the councillors through the detail of planning policy relating to the points raised in the discussion;
- Need No need for applicant to prove need, so refusal must prove how permission would cause demonstrable harm.
- Neighbourly The current A1 usage could allow anyone to use the Mews with no restrictions; however, in converting to A4, the council could restrict the Mews substantially.
- Safe Guard Site Look at Tesco or Superdrug, as they were already A1, the council could no put conditions on their use.
- Neighbourhood Amenities The second application attempted to address all concerns of the Broadway residents by moving the entrance and protecting the Mews.
- Noise & Noise Breakout Site is ideal for protecting local residents.
- Covers General this is addressed by the fire regulations, not in planning.
- Air Filters & Conditioners In principle the plan was good, just needed to be sited better, it was normal and acceptable that it was removed and submitted separately.
- Traffic & Parking Basically parking is horrible in the area and this is ideally located by a main line rail station and bus stop, can’t do much better. Can restrict the use of coaches with a Travel Plan.
- Refuse Storage The applicants plan was fine, just would be made a formal requirment.
Next, the Councillors discussed the comments and then reviewed their respective positions. This led to a recommendation of some ‘conditions’ after which there was a vote, 5-3 in favour.
Detail of the Voting
- Cllr Richard Hollis – Cons. West Twick (Chair)
- Cllr Virginia Morris – Cons. East Sheen (Dep.Chair)
- Cllr Hilary Dance – Cons. Whitton
- Cllr Brian Miller – Lib Dem. Ham, Petersham & Richmond Riverside
- Cllr Annie Hambidge – Cons. Our local councillor
- Cllr Stephen Knight – Lib Dem. Teddington
- Cllr David Trigg – Lib Dem. Twickenham Riverside
- Cllr Simon Lamb – Cons. Our local councillor
The conditions are as follows:
- Transit Plan This needs to be agreed before full permission is granted. Councillors would like to make sure that coaches are not driving around the one way system.
- Hours of Access to Mews Again, Councillors want to revisit the operational hours of the Mews to minimise noise.
- Air Conditioning/Filtering Plan Councillors want to make sure that the plans for the plants on the roof top minimise sound.
- Personal Planning Permission Councillors insist that the A4 planning should not pass to another, less neighbourly owner.
- 2am New Year’s Licence Council felt strongly that 2am was late enough, a 24 hour license was unnecessary.