Refusal’ to back closure
LEGAL action is still looming for Parish Councillor Diana Thrower, who closed her ailing village store without obtaining permission from planners. Cllr Thrower has already been warned of possible legal action by Fenland District Council after closing the
LEGAL action is still looming for Parish Councillor Diana Thrower, who closed her ailing village store without obtaining permission from planners.
Cllr Thrower has already been warned of possible legal action by Fenland District Council after closing the shop at Front Road, Murrow.
Now her planning application to close it officially and convert it back to part of her home is being recommended for refusal.
Planning officer Stephanie Thompson will tell the district council planning committee next week that the proposal goes against council policy "and would result in the loss of a local facility, weakening the rural community".
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Ms Thompson says Cllr Thrower has applied retrospectively after already closing the shop.
She said she had received a letter from the councillor explaining she had tried all options to keep the store viable by introducing promotions and offers but profit margins were too low. The store was on the market with an estate agent and two offers were received, but fell through as no bank was willing to lend money against the store's taking.
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"It is always regrettable to see the loss of a local service in a village," says Ms Thompson. But she says she has yet to receive evidence showing Cllr Thrower had marketed the property properly, and she needed sight of her accounts to prove the business was unviable.
"This information was requested on October 10. However, to date no supporting information has been received," says Ms Thompson in her report to the committee.
Without such information the change of use is unacceptable and she will remind councillors next week that they have already supported the principle of formal enforcement action if the matter is not resolved.
Cllr Thrower said she had always wanted to run her own shop but said: "I could not keep making such a big loss for the council's dream of every village having a shop, and I was very upset when I closed it.