The proposed development was granted full planning permission on 24th July 2020. Six planning conditions were attached to the decision notice, with the first two being the standard five year expiration and approved plans conditions.
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The property has been utilised as a local bakery since approximately 1920 for the production and sale of baked goods such as bread and complimentary items. In recent decades, the premises have sold takeaway food and drink such as sandwiches, wraps, cakes, hot savouries and hot soups. The commercial premises stopped trading in September 2019 as the business was no longer viable and was advertised on the market. After serving as an NHS first responder in the Midlands for over 25 years, the applicant is looking to relocate to South Wales and purchased the property late 2019 seeking to invest and regenerate the premises whilst remaining respectful to the historical use of the property and local heritage. The applicant also, therefore, wishes to utilise the upstairs floorspace as a C3 residential flat to live and work on the premises.
Where is the scheme located?
The proposed site location relates to an end of terrace corner property situated within the former coal village and community of Pengam, located within the Rhymney Valley. To the north is an open public green space and the main road junction where the B4254 and A469 connect Bargoed, Blackwood, Hengoed and Penpedairheol. The building forms one of six properties in a terrace where the other five are residential dwellings. There is a bus stop and a sharp topographical slope to the east and the west is Hanbury Street which serves residential properties to the rear. There are six bus stops and Pengam Train Station within 200m of the proposed development site.
What is the proposed development?
The proposed development for a mixed-use scheme that A3 and C3 elements on the ground and first floor. It was proposed that the existing ground floor shop is retained for the sale of freshly made food and drink for walk-in pedestrians and commuters. However, to improve the commercial viability and regenerate the property, this application also proposed to introduce a café dessert parlour on the corner element of the ground floor. The only proposed external changes to the property are the reinstatement of two former windows which have been bricked up. This will provide plenty of natural light into the parlour whilst providing a dynamic outlook onto Cardiff Road and the public open space opposite. The food and drink to be sold in both the shop and café will be stored and freshly prepared within the single-storey rear extension and central kitchen room as seen on the proposed floorplans. The existing central chimney will be utilised for ventilating the kitchen area meaning that no external extractor fans will be necessary.
What are the material planning considerations?
As a full planning application, the main material planning conditions were:
- Principle of development
- Visual Amenity Impact
- Sustainable Transport
- Residential Amenity
There are a few particulars to consider when discussing the principle of development. As a mixed-use scheme, the C3 dwelling and A3 food takeaway elements need to suit the planning context of the property and the wider area. As the property resides within the settlement boundary, as indicated on the Caerphilly Planning Policy Maps, there is a presumption that the siting of a new A3 and C3 unit at this location would be sustainable. Furthermore, the property had previously been a bakery and shop, meaning that a continuation of that use in an increased capacity would make it acceptable in principle.
The C3 residential use of the first floor is considered to be acceptable when set in the context of a residential area within the settlement boundary, however, a key component to any new dwelling is sustainable transportation. Contemporary planning policy generally requires one parking space per bedroom (up to three bedrooms) for any new residential unit, within the curtilage of the property (off-street parking). As the unit in this instance will be a residential flat and the plot limits the availability of off-street parking, it was a tricky particular to justify in planning policy terms. However, there was no need for the business to utilise the second floor, and thus half of the property would have remained vacant from use which could lead to degradation of the property over time. Many terrace properties that have been converted into a commercial shop benefit from a residential flat above the commercial space, thus this mixed-use element would not be out of keeping with similar properties throughout England and Wales. As a result, it makes sense to convert the second-floor space into a residential unit, and given the extensive unrestricted parking space on the surrounding road network, which is not known to be strained throughout peak hours, the proposed off-street parking was considered to be an acceptable impact.
Residential amenity is a planning consideration that can cover multiple aspects. In this case, it considers noise and odour from the food element of the A3 use which is a very typical issue applicants run into during the planning process. Many Local Planning Authorities have strong planning restrictions surrounding new A3 units, especially in residential areas for these reasons. However, as a former bakery, the property benefits from a large chimney centred within the building structure. It was proposed that this would be installed with a commercial flue connected to the kitchen shown on the floorplan. The kitchen would only cook fresh food, meaning that the strong odours, noise and discharge from a typical takeaway such as a kebab shop would not cause a significant detrimental impact. The Council granted full planning permission but has requested further details to be fully satisfied with these elements.
What was the Final Planning Decision?
The proposed development was granted full planning permission on 24th July 2020. Six planning conditions were attached to the decision notice, with the first two being the standard five year expiration and approved plans conditions. The other four conditions related to operating hours, scheme of sound insulation, odour and fume control, and details regarding refuse storage.
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