1. Site Description 1.1 The site is located approximately ½ mile to the west of the town centre, in an area of high density terraced housing on the north side of the A6069 Broughton Road. It comprises an end terraced property on the corner of Pendle Street and Broughton Road. The ground floor forms a former post office and contains a traditional shop front. The upper floors form residential accommodation. There is an open forecourt fronting Broughton Road. 1.2 The remainder of the terrace comprises two-storey dwelling houses and the surrounding area is predominantly residential in land use character; although there is a shop within the next terrace to the west. 2. Proposal 2.1 The change of use of the post office (a Class A1 retail use) to a hot food take-away (Class A3). No external alterations to the building are shown or indicated. 3. Planning History 3.1 No relevant history. 4. Planning Policy Background 4.1 PPG1 “General Policy and Principles”; PPG24 “Planning and Noise”. 4.2 Craven District Local Plan: Policy R6 “Food and Drink Establishments”. 5. Parish/Town Council Comments 5.1 Skipton Town Council: “Objection. The Committee regret the loss of the post office and object to the change of use on environmental issues, ie litter problems”. 6. Consultations 6.1 NYCC (Highway Authority): the County Council’s formal observations will be reported to the meeting. The initial response queried off street parking availability, however, there is no scope to provide such facilities at this site. 6.2 Environmental Protection Team: The comments from the Environmental Health Officer are (in summary):“The premises are in a residential area, at the end of a row of terraced houses with houses close by at Broughton Road, Pendle Street and Ruskin Avenue. Where a restaurant or hot food takeaway is sited so close to houses, there is a potential for noise and odour nuisance to be caused. The degree of nuisance caused would be dependant on the hours of operation and type of food cooked, all of which could be subject to alteration at any time without further consent. Such businesses frequently alter in style and management and the premises may be sold at any time to another operator with the benefit of planning consent. Nuisance can occur from the following sources: Cooking odours Customer noise Noise from kitchen extraction system General noise/disturbance from the operation of the kitchen. In summary, in view of the close proximity to residential premises, there is a great potential for noise and odour nuisance being caused to local residents by the development of a restaurant and takeaway food outlet here. If late opening is allowed the problems will be exacerbated. If permission is granted there will be no further control over the type of food being prepared and sold, so even if the initial use is acceptable to the immediate neighbour at 54 Broughton Road, a future change of ownership may lead to problems.” 7. Representations 7.1 One letter has been received from a local resident, expressing concern about litter and cooking smells; without measures to adequately address these problems there would be an objection to the development. 8. Summary of principle planning issues 8.1 The effect of the proposal on the amenities of the occupants of nearby dwellings in terms of smell, noise and disturbance, litter and the impact of traffic movements. 9. Analysis 9.1 Local Plan Policy R6 states that food and drink establishments will only be permitted if certain criteria are met by the proposal. In the case of hot food takeaways it is noted that the Council will carefully scrutinise proposals to take account of effects which may be detrimental to local amenity. This takes account of national planning guidance which clearly states that the potential to create a nuisance can be a material consideration in deciding whether or not to grant planning permission for a proposal (notwithstanding the fact that other forms of control may exist for its regulation). In this case the Council’s Environmental Health Officer has raised particular concerns regarding the proximity of residential properties to the application premises, and the potential sources of nuisance. 9.2 As regards cooking odours and noise disturbance, the premises are situated at the end of a terrace of houses, and there is residential accommodation above the present shop. In 1995 the Council refused planning permission for a hot food takeaway at 60 Broughton Road, on residential amenity grounds, and this followed the dismissal of an earlier appeal against the refusal of a taxi office. In the appeal the inspector noted “the tight pattern of development and narrow service roads” and that “outside normal shop trading hours the area is likely to be quiet”. The opinion of the Environmental Health Officer is that fume extraction equipment, even if taken above the ridge height of the building and fully maintained to the manufacturer’s specifications, will not be sufficient to prevent smells effecting nearby properties which would justify complaints. In addition this equipment may be noisy, leading to further disturbance. 9.3 Following the closure of the post office there is only one other retail shop nearby, with a tyre fitting establishment further to the west. While it seems reasonable to conclude that the trade generated by a takeaway during daytime opening hours would not lead to a significant level of noise or other disturbance, in the evening the general vehicle and pedestrian levels in the locality will be reduced. Therefore, at the quieter evening time, the potential noise disturbance from cars visiting the site and the general coming and goings would be much more intrusive to local residents. Although the applicant has not indicated opening times, it is assumed evening opening would be necessary in order for the business to be viable. Again, the Environment Health Officer has indicated evening opening would be likely to lead to complaints about noise disturbance. 9.4 The applicant has drawn attention to his ownership of the residential accommodation above the shop, and the adjoining house. However, this should carry little weight in the planning considerations, in that the occupiers are entitled to the same level of amenity as other local residents, and secondly there is no certainty the current owner of the property will always be the occupant. 9.5 With regard to the comments of the Town Council, the loss of the post office (which has already closed) would not be a material planning consideration at this location, within a half mile of the town centre. In respect of litter, whereas this issue would not be a determining factor in land use planning terms, the proposed use would be likely to lead to increased problems in the area (there is already evidence of litter in the front gardens of private properties nearby). 9.6 Finally, turning to traffic and highway safety issues, the highway authority have not objected to the proposal; either in overall traffic generation or safety terms. Nevertheless, it is reasonable to assume that the facility, if approved, would increase traffic movements and street parking, if only from ‘passing trade’. This is likely to lead to inconvenience for local residents, especially from evening noise from car doors, engines running and starting, and general activity by the users of the vehicles. This adds weight to the amenity concerns. 9.7 In conclusion, it is considered that there are strong grounds to support the concerns expressed by the Environmental Health Officer. This proposal would be likely to lead to a variety of types of nuisance that could not be fully controlled by fume extraction equipment, sound proofing, and time limits on opening. Collectively, the potential sources of disturbance would have an unacceptably detrimental impact on the occupants of the nearby houses. 10. Recommendation 10.1 Refusal of the application is recommended. 11. Reasons for Refusal 11.1 The District Planning Authority considers that the application premises are unsuitable for the introduction of a hot food takeaway, because of the close proximity of residential premises and the likely harm to the existing character of the surrounding area. In particular, the proposal is likely to cause disturbance through cooking odours and general noise nuisance, especially during the evenings, to the detriment of the amenities of the occupants of nearby dwellings. It is therefore held that the change of use would be contrary to Policy R6 of the adopted Craven District (Outside the Yorkshire Dales National Park) Local Plan.