Fears have been expressed about a potential rise in anti-social behaviour if a 70-seater restaurant gets the go-ahead next to Rosies nightclub in Chester city centre.
Cheshire police and council leader Samantha Dixon have both raised concerns about the concentration of night-time facilities in a small area if the Northgate Street plan is approved.
Cllr Dixon, who represents the city centre, has ‘called in’ the planning application by Shell Trust (UK Property) Ltd for a decision by next Tuesday’s (October 10) planning committee.
According to a report, she believes the plan to convert a retail unit into a restaurant is inappropriate at this location and fears ‘an increase in crime and anti-social behaviour’.
Cheshire police are also worried about a licensed restaurant next door to Rosies because it would mean no ‘discernible split’ between the dining and night time economy. Police apparently objected to an earlier version of the plan which showed a large bar and ‘vertical drinking’ area which has now been removed.
Stonegate Pub Company, which runs Rosies, would be concerned about ‘a conflict of uses’ if the restaurant opening hours went beyond the start time of the nightclub whose queue has traditionally extended across their frontage.
The applicants have stressed the scheme is for a restaurant, incorporating a small bar, rather than a drinking establishment and there is ‘no confirmed operator’ in place.
Planning officer Simon Greenland is recommending approval of the project that would involve no internal alterations to the listed building.
He said the length of time the unit had been unsuccessfully marketed for retail use outweighed other considerations. The unit is currently occupied by Lambretta who are described as ‘a temporary occupier’ with no rent charged since the end of 2015 in an attempt to increase the marketability of the adjoining larger premises in the same ownership.
Mr Greenland concluded: “It is considered the proposal would not have a significant adverse impact on health or quality of life, having particular regard to residential amenity. On balance it is considered that the proposed development would not have an unacceptable impact on the vitality and viability of the retail centre.”