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Plan to Turn Vacant Scarborough Shops in to Flats Rejected

Thursday, 18 April 2024 06:00

By Anttoni James Numminen, Local Democracy Reporter

Councillors have refused proposals to convert vacant shop units into residential flats at a major housing development.

The Sanctuary Group developer’s plan to convert the vacant retail spaces at the Middle Deepdale development in Scarborough have been unanimously rejected by councillors.

Residents at the over 55s Jazz Court Retirement Community at Ashmead Square in Eastfield had lobbied against the conversion which they said would have left them without local facilities.

At a meeting of the Scarborough and Whitby area planning committee, councillors reiterated their concerns that there was “a lack of evidence” about efforts to market the units.

A planning officer said that

“no evidence has been submitted by the applicant that shows evidence of any negotiation or marketing except for [an advert] on Rightmove last year – apart from that there’s been nothing.”

Council officers noted that despite being vacant the shop units were classed as

“community facilities… that are protected through Local Plan policies”.

Almost 30 members of the public objected to the conversion, with many citing concerns about the “harm the loss of the facilities would cause the local community”.

Local ward councillor Tony Randerson attended the meeting to speak against the plans and asked the committee to

“please refuse this application”.

Coun Heather Phillips said the developer

“does not seem to have made the necessary efforts”.

She added:

“I know that all high streets are struggling but this one didn’t even get a chance to struggle. It seems to have been ineffectively marketed and I think there is a massive appetite locally for a shop there.”

The extra care facility of 60 residential units currently has a restaurant in addition to the vacant retail units.

Currently, the nearest local shop is located on Eastway, which is located around 0.6 miles (1km) away.

Coun Subash Sharma said:

“I think it’s absurd that there are thousands of houses being built and no facilities, not even a shop of any kind.

“I think we have to take a very clear stand and be unequivocal that in any large-scale development, we expect there to be shops.”

Councillors voted unanimously to refuse the plans at the planning meeting last Thursday (April 11).

 

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