Council refuses to allow butcher’s shop to be demolished claiming village still needs it

A BUTCHER’S should not be demolished to make way for new homes, a council has ruled.

March-based architects Brand Associates applied to knock down CH Cook in West Walton to make way for two semi-detached homes.

But King’s Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council said their bid “fails to demonstrate that the continued use of the shop is economically unviable”.

National planning policy says local facilities such as butchers are “vital to sustain and contribute towards meeting the needs of rural communities” so villages remain “self-contained settlements, thus reducing the need to travel”.

“The loss of such a facility which is of social value to a community is therefore a material planning consideration,” the council says.

CH Cook was classed as being in a “Key Rural Service Centre” that must provide a range of service to meet people’s day-to-day basic needs.

“Policies of the Core Strategy advise that, within all centres and villages, priority will be given to retaining local business sites unless it can be clearly demonstrated that continued use of the site for employment purposes is no longer viable,” the council’s planning decision read.

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It went on to say: “There is no evidence that the property has been marketed nor that an alternative commercial/community use has been considered.

“It is therefore considered that the loss of this retail unit in favour of residential development would have an adverse impact upon the vitality of the village.”

It was also said not to meet the “long-term economic and social needs of the community and the residents of its outlying areas” and to have “failed to demonstrate the wider sustainability benefits of the development”.

However the local authority did say the replacement of the shop “would be in keeping with development along this part of School Road”.

West Walton Parish Council also opposed the planning application on the grounds of overdevelopment.