A plan to turn a former schoolhouse near Hereford into a restaurant has been approved despite opposition from a neighbouring school.
The Victorian-era, unlisted Field House in Credenhill most recently housed a pre-school nursery. Local restaurateur Mr C Lherbier’s conversion plan required planning permission only for a new “orangery-style” extension to the building, while an existing extension was to be expanded.
The proposal was not contested by official consultees, with neither the council’s highways, ecology or housing officers, nor the parish council, Welsh Water or the locally significant Ministry of Defence estate objecting.
However it did prompt an objection from the neighbouring St Mary’s Primary School, whose governors said use of the building as a restaurant would be “inappropriate, and could cause significant problems with traffic flow”.
This could not only disrupt evening events at the school, but also impede emergency vehicles’ access to it, particularly during the construction phase, they said.
Nine other letters of objection highlighted the likelihood of parking spilling over onto nearby verges and residential streets.
“It has been advised that the restaurant is to offer 40 covers and five staff, so potentially 25 cars,” nearby resident Ian Pattison said. “With only space for nine vehicles, where is everyone going to park?”
But these were outnumbered by submissions of support such as that from Herefordshire cheesemaker Charlie Westhead, who wrote: “Hereford needs more quality restaurants, not only for local people but for visitors who bring valuable income to the county.
“High-quality restaurants are one of the first things that visitors look for.”
Planning officer Simon Rowles did not consider that the proposal would cause any unacceptable highway safety or amenity impacts, and concluded it would “lead to economic benefits, including employment opportunities, and secure a viable use for what is an important local building”.