The Development Management Sub-Committee yesterday refused an application to remove/vary conditions on the potential running of a Taco Bell at Category B-listed 6 Picardy Place (formerly Bank of Scotland) (23/02655/FUL).
The case concerned earlier restrictions on the kind of cooking equipment to be used here without a ventilation system to ‘expel cooking effluvia to a suitable height’ (i.e. well away from residents in the same building).
Lionacre Properties (SC) Ltd, owner of the premises, wanted to control and treat cooking odours using a well-maintained reflow recirculation and filtration system (RRFS), and to allow use of Taco Bell’s preferred cheese melter, split-lid grill, flat-top grill, rethermaliser and fryer.
Environmental Protection said there was no guarantee the RRFS would cope consistently with the smells even if regularly maintained, and in any case such systems are often not as good as they’re cracked up to be. Planning also advised that checking such maintenance had been properly carried out would be an unsupportable burden on officers so should not be considered as a condition.
Furthermore, Environmental Protection was concerned that the efficiency of such systems could be affected by the type of cooking; and whilst a condition could be imposed to restrict cooking equipment, it would be unreasonable to seek to control the type of food cooked. Additional air conditioning associated with the RRFS would create additional noise for neighbours.
In conclusion, the Chief Planning Officer in his report argued that, because of its detrimental impact on residential amenity, the proposal did not comply with the National Planning Framework 4, the Council’s Local Development Plan and non-statutory guidance.
Whether Taco Bell continues to show interest in operating from this property remains to be seen. No. 6 is still being marketed by Shepherd Commercial for class 3 restricted use at an annual rent of over £80k. The particulars note that it enjoys, 'Extremely high levels of pedestrian and vehicular passing traffic.'