A NEW pub and restaurant is to be built on one of the main gateways into Leek.
Following a heated debate, Marston's Inn and Taverns has been given permission by Staffordshire Moorlands District Council to build the new premises on Sainsbury's Churnet Works development.
The two-storey building will be food-led and have 150 inside covers and 40 outside, along with accommodation for the manager and ancillary offices.
Speaking against the proposals Councillor John Povey said: "The proposal put forward by Sainsbury's offered significant planning gain, replacement of run down industrial units, the provision of 95 residential units and public open space.
"If the planning gain was presented to you at that point in time was reduced, it is unlikely that the Sainsbury's scheme would have got approval."
Objector Maureen Stone told the planning committee that 43 parking spaces for 190 covers were inadequate.
She said: "Spillage of Marston's customers onto other commercial or residential parking will be detrimental to the locality.
"The parking for the Sainsbury's store and three retail units have been calculated to serve the retail demand." Councillor Darren Price said: "This is the wrong type of building for this site. The proposed apartment block would be much more strident owing to its overall scale and height."
Objector Rory Hollins said: "There are a total of 14 existing providers on the doorstep of the application site. It must therefore be concluded that this new pub will draw its customers from both the locality and Leek town centre."
Councillor Charlotte Atkins said the application was detrimental to the locality and wider community.
She said: "There is greater demand in this community for affordable housing than an inappropriately located public house that will damage the town centre."
Planning committee member Linda Malyon pointed out a recent housing scheme tabled by Ascent, a joint venture between Your Housing and the district council, was withdrawn after asbestos was found on the Sainsbury's site.
She said: "This land was for affordable housing, which was a priority for the council.
"There is no need for a public house on this site.
"Now Ascent has moved off because of contamination.
"This will be detrimental to local businesses nearby and in the town."
However, the applicant's planning agent, Don Proctor, said there was no TV or Sky Sports proposed at the premises as it was unacceptable to Marston's.
He said: "The plan has full highways approval and is a sustainable location.
"It is important to note that this is not an application for a traditional pub.
"It has waitress/waiter service with 150 covers.
"Its offer is different and it will not affect pubs. Marston's has four pubs in the town which will remain to compete.
"The application must be looked at on its merits as it is in accordance with the council's planning policy."
Councillor Mike Worthington said there were enough properties for sale and rent at affordable prices in the town.
He said: "We can't stop competition.
"There are 13 charity shops spoiling the town centre, but we can't stop them opening.
"There is no reason for this to be refused.
"The road disruption has hit town centre businesses and people should get rate relief. People also voted themselves out of a job at Britannia. We need something to attract in footfall."
Councillor voted by seven votes to four in favour of approval Family leave pub: Page 9