The Forest Hill Society has written in response to this planning application to oppose the proposed change of use of 33 Dartmouth Road from A1 to A4.
Dartmouth Road has had a difficult few year, since the closure of the swimming pool in 2006, however with the reopening of the pool next year we have a strong belief that retail units on Dartmouth Road will be revitalised with the increased passing trade, especially on the route between the station and the pool. At this time we need to council to protect existing retail units so that as the fortunes of Forest Hill change there will be opportunities for new businesses to set up retail units on the high street.
This site is within the core shopping area of Forest Hill and is therefore covered by STC4: Major and District Centres - Core Shopping Areas
Within the Core Shopping Areas, the Council will strongly resist any change of use involving the loss at ground floor level of Class A1 shops. The following factors will be taken into account when considering exceptions:
(a) whether the proposal harms the overwhelming retail appearance of the shopping frontage, with an over-concentration of non-retail uses (normally 3 non A1 uses together and 70% maintained in A1 use);
In reference to STC 4a, this unit is next door to a pub and a pizza takeaway (currently closed). Changing this unit from retail to non-retail would harm the retail appearance of the road at this section.
We are also concerned about the proposed hours of operation including until 3am at weekend. This is later than any other pub in the area and feel it would be an unnecessary disturbance for neighbours.
With the existing concentration of pubs in the immediate vicinity, and new ones approved for opening directly across the road, we believe that this is not an appropriate use for this unit.