Planet Organic Shop Maybe Stalled
Despite contractors being on site to convert the old Superdrug store on Market Place to a new Planet Organic, the opening maybe stalled for legal reasons and the recommendation of refusal of their planning application by Henley Town Council this week.
A planning application for Lawful Development of the site was made by Danish Bake UK Limited (t/a Ole & Steen) in May to confirm that there were no restrictions on the site relating to trading or servicing hours. South Oxfordshire District Council’s Decision Report stated, “Legal Agreement placed on the site in 1984 under application reference P83/S0420/CU/LB specifically restricts the use of the site as anything other than a ‘shop’ (selling of goods but does not include hotel, restaurant, snack bar or cafe) as defined under the Town & Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1972.” The subsequent amendments of the Use Classes Order (the site is now classed as Class E use) do not override the 1984 legal agreement. This decision may have been the reason that Ole & Steen pulled out.
Henley Town Council’s Planning Committee voted to recommend refusal for development and the discharge of legal conditions of the 1984 agreement with stand-in Chair, Councillor Ken Arlett giving the casting vote stating his reason for objection was for “loss of retail space” and commented that if you look on the internet “you can see that Planet Organic have tables and chairs at all their other sites.”
The Planning Committee also recommended refusal of Planet Organic’s advertising and signage as it was proposed that vinyls would be used and this is against the SODC shop front guidelines which specifies that wood and paint should be used. Councillor Lorraine Hillier commented that their signage should reflect their organic ethos.
The council is clearly living in 1984 if they want to impose regulations from those times on a highly respected retailer moving into fill a large empty space on the marketplace. Surely the additional tables and chairs would fit in perfectly with the other retailers in the square. Get real. This is 2022. Be grateful and welcome all such retailers.
I agree entirely. Having respected retailers come to fill what could easily be a problem site. There are other empty shop sites in Henley and we need to encourage traders to come not raise petty objections. I agree the lovely character should be retained and not everything is ok. But this is.