THE decision given by the Government inspector Clive Whitehouse to refuse the appeal for the Coffee Stop to remain is nothing short of scandalous, and is incredibly selective in the reasoning.
The Coffee Stop apparently does not preserve or enhance the appearance of the conservation area.
I can only assume that neither Mr Whitehouse nor anybody from the district council has actually visited the area of the Coffee Stop as, within 25 yards of the site, there is:
1) an untidy wall next to Boots topped by a redundant line of rusting barbed wire;
2) two huge tree stumps;
3) a brick wall forced over into a pile of rubble by one of those trees previously pushing through it;
4) an open area of untidy scrubland used as an ad-hoc car park;
5) an open area of unsightly concrete fronted by two large modern wooden gates;
6) the area containing the dozen or so recycling bins.
Ironically, the coffee shop and its little compound helps to hide much of the above from view.
I would suggest that helps to enhance the overall view of the conservation area, not detract from it.
Now that this permission has been refused, I assume the town council and district council will be contacting the owners of all those areas listed above with a view to getting them tidied up, so that we can all admire the beautifully preserved character of the conservation area.
Additionally, there are several modern brick extensions to the rear of some of the premises on St John Street, which do not look at all pretty.
And don’t even get me started on the enhanced conservational appearance of the Horse and Jockey Yard and the Shaw Croft buildings, all directly adjacent to the Coffee Stop.
Those, of course, were major projects for which developers paid huge sums of money to foist ugly modern buildings on the town, as opposed to the tiny operation run by Susan Rowley, which can apparently be swatted away like an irritating fly.
If Susan is forced out of business by this tiny-minded decision, then it will be an absolute disgrace.
I hope she succeeds in either getting this latest decision overturned if she has any further recourse, or can find an alternate site in the town.
I hope she realises the people of this town support her wholeheartedly.
MARK GRIST (ADDRESS SUPPLIED)