Councillors enter Wisbech and over rule their officers by upsetting the apple cart of the money lenders

A LAST bid attempt to stop a money lending shop from remaining in Wisbech has been launched by a group of councillors.

Fenland District Council Planning Committee refused retrospective consent for The Money Shop at 13 Market Place even though planning chiefs say they could see no reason to prevent it.

They warned the committee to attach no significance to the “moral issues surrounding the change of use and the effect of this type of service on more vulnerable members of the community.”

Senior officers said “significant weight” could not be attached to these sorts of concerns and the council, in law, has no “paternalistic jurisdiction over developers or applicants.”

But the committee disagreed and rejected their officers’ advice, arguing that the proposal “would have a detrimental effect on the vitality and viability of the town centre.”

They also argued that it “reduces the attractiveness of the shopping frontage to shoppers.”

Their refusal flew in the face of officers’ advice which argued that the “viability and vitality of the town centre is not under threat from this particular proposal and the application should be supported.”

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In 1976 the site was divided into two units and since there has been used as a bakery, boutique and estate agents.

The new owners offer cheque cashing, foreign exchange, money transfer and pay day loans, the committee was told.

The town council recommended approval but had “serious concerns” that the owners had gone ahead without planning consent. They also had concerns over the “garish signage and shop front” within the Wisbech Conservation area.