Coffee shop plan is back on menu

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ANOTHER attempt is being made to turn empty premises on Ecclesall Road into a licensed coffee shop.

After protests by nearby residents, planning permission was refused last April for a location near the corner of Thompson Road - next to Yankees restaurant - because of the predicted noise and other disturbance.

Now a revised application has been submitted to the council with a view to replacing a former furniture and design shop with ‘Couch’, which would have 40 seats inside and 38 outside.

It reignites the controversy over the numbers of places to eat and drink on Ecclesall Road and the effect on people living nearby and parking on side streets.

Birmingham-based Sash Ventures Ltd says Couch is designed as “a takeaway coffee shop offering coffees from around the world”, selling sandwiches, cakes, paninis, coffee beans, luxury chocolates.

There would also be “a limited selection of alcoholic drinks”.

The previous attempt to secure approval for Couch resulted in a mixed response from the council. A premises licence was granted allowing drinks to be served seven days a week up to 11.30pm, despite objections from nearby residents.

But then planning permission, which is also needed, was refused for a venture open until 11pm after taking into account the same protests.

Objectors included Endcliffe Corner Community Organisation, which raised concerns over the effect on neighbours, and added: “We feel that another large restaurant on this part of Ecclesall Road may be one too many. The balance between the various kinds of premises is already going too far in the direction of restaurants, bars and takeaways.”

Botanical Area Community Association warned against tipping the balance “still further away from local residents and from the local businesses that sell goods and services”.

The council agreed on planning grounds that residents would pay too high a price.

In an attempt to secure a change of mind, the latest application includes a noise impact assessment and reduces the proposed number of seats outside the premises.

It also envisages a closing time of 11.30pm in line with that approved by the council’s licensing committee.

Sash Ventures say planning permission should be granted on the basis that all local and national planning guidelines are being complied with.