CONTROVERSIAL plans for a sixth fast- food restaurant in a Flintshire town have been approved.
A planning application to convert an empty butchers on Holywell High Street into a Chinese takeaway was called in by councillor Peter Curtis, who felt there were already too many fast-food vendors in town.
The town council also registered an objection to the change of use, stating the High Street needed more diversity to reverse its decline and spark regeneration.
But members of Flintshire Council’s planning committee decided yesterday to approve the change of use.
The premises in question, the former D W Roberts and Son butchers, has been on sale for 13 months.
Change of use can be applied if a premesis stands empty or up for sale or rent for more than a year.
Speaking after the decision, Cllr Curtis said: “I’m a bit disapointed we couldn’t put something else in there but it’s going to be an empty shop that’s going to be full.
“I’d have liked it to have been something else but there hasn’t been a lot of take up. The high streets are changing dramatically.”
In the meeting, fellow Holywell councillor Gareth Roberts backed the application.
He said: “I obviously welcome the proposal because I prefer to see a building that’s occupied rather than not being occupied. This business has been empty for two-and-a-half years.
“The sad reality in Holywell is once we decided to approve the Tesco application, Holywell High Street, which was once a booming town centre, was condemned to an area of takeaways and charity shops.”
But Cllr Curtis said he “totally disagreed” that Tesco had damaged the high street.
He said: “There’s more footfall with people going to Tesco in Holywell whereas before they would have gone to Mold.
“We can’t keep blaming Tesco for everything in the world. The butcher moved away so it wasn’t the case that he lost his premesis.
“But we’ll just have to see what happens. It might be a good thing.”
The council officers’ planning report before yesterday’s meeting, which recommended the application be approved, stated: “It is hoped this venture will improve the area by turning a currently vacant property into a thriving business, especially necessary in these times of shuttered high street shops.”