Planning officers have recommended that councillors should give the green light for a new Wetherspoon pub in Newport Pagnell.
The pub company’s controversial proposal to turn the former Robinson’s restaurant/wine bar in St John’s Street into one of their pubs was rejected on appeal earlier this year on heritage grounds.
Now, the pub company has bounced back with plans for the Grade II listed site, with amendments that council officers say has met their heritage concerns.
But there are still objections, one from the council’s Lib Dem leader, Cllr Douglas McCall (Newport Pagnell South), who has told planners that there is a lack of parking in the town centre. He also argues that the plans would cause noise pollution to the neighbours.
Cllr McCall has triggered the council’s call-in process, which means the planning application will be considered by the Development Control Panel at Milton Keynes Council on Thursday, November 21.
In his report recommending approval, senior planning officer Christopher Walton, says a government planning inspector has effectively ruled out parking as a reason for objecting.
The council’s highways officer says it would be “unreasonable” to object on those grounds. They have proposed a condition limiting delivery lorries to be only 7.5 tonnes.
The council’s heritage experts add that the current application “has been amended significantly to lessen the impact of the proposal”. This means that overall “it is considered that the development would result in less than substantial harm to the Newport Pagnell Conservation Area.”
And from a noise point of view, the council’s experts say that the outside area could be used as a beer garden without permission because of the site’s previous use as a wine bar. But they have proposed conditions on the noise produced by equipment.
Mr Walton’s report to the committee concludes: “It is considered that the economic value of the scheme arising from jobs and increased footfall within Newport Pagnell town centre, combined with revitalising a disused commercial site, are notable.
“Further, the scheme would result in the existing building being brought back into its optimum viable use as a restaurant / bar.
“For these reasons it is considered that the proposal, on balance, would result in public benefits which outweigh the less than substantial harm associated with the development- harm that has been significantly minimised by virtue of the revised layout and design of the scheme.”
The final decision will be in the hands of a five elected councillors at next Thursday’s Development Control Panel meeting. It is a meeting that is open to the public, at MK Council’s Civic offices in Saxon Gate East, Central Milton Keynes, from 7pm.
Members of the public can register to speak (before 12 noon on Monday, Nov 18) or make a written submission (by 12 noon on Wednesday, Nov 20) by emailing dc-speaking-requests@Milton-keynes.gov.uk