Traders and residents of Portobello are rallying support to fight an appeal to allow seven-day trading at the Admiral Vernon Arcade.
As reported in ATG No 1988, on April 19 Kensington and Chelsea Council's planning committee unanimously rejected the application by Holland Park Investments Ltd for permission to bring seven-day trading to the basement of the arcade. Councillors reinforced conditions established in 1995, which made the protection of local residents' peace and amenities a priority.
Antiques dealers, who spend much of the week sourcing goods around the country for sale in the arcade on Saturdays, believe that permission for seven-day trading would see them squeezed out in favour of other traders who would be prepared to open all week.
They fear this would create a precedent that would spread to the rest of Portobello, sounding the death knell for the antiques trade there.
So they were delighted when councillors decided to ignore planning officers' recommendation for permission to be granted for the basement to be used throughout the week and threw out the application on the basis that lifting the restrictions would remove the protection for residents.
However, the landlords believe they have grounds for appeal as the council's Director of Environmental Services has argued that residents would be unlikely to suffer as a result.
Existing restrictions on when deliveries and loading can take place would remain in place and the records show that there have been no complaints about noise.
The ground floor of Admiral Vernon, where there are no such restrictions on trading, would be more likely to have an effect on neighbouring residents than trading in the basement, yet there is no evidence that it has done so, the Director argued, concluding that: "The condition prevents the efficient and effective use of the building for its permitted use and serves no reasonable planning purpose".
The appeal document reinforces this argument by referring to Circular 11/95, which stipulates that "conditions should only be imposed where they are necessary, reasonable, enforceable, precise and relevant to planning".
There has been some difficulty gaining access to the appeal documents online, but the council have helpfully supplied the following link, which does work:
Anyone who wishes to comment on the appeal may do so by writing to The Planning Inspectorate, Room 3/19, Eagle Wing, Temple Quay House, 2 The Square, Bristol, BS1 6PN to arrive by July 28. Please send three copies marked with the PINS Reference: App/K5600/A/11/2154885.
Please do not send letters to Kensington and Chelsea Council.
By Ivan Macquisten