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Saturday, 01 November 2014

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Empty Bowness industrial unit could become eatery

A VACANT warehouse could be transformed into a new Lake District restaurant if a row with a neighbouring firm can be solved.

Planning permission is being sought to turn the empty industrial unit at Longlands, in Bowness, into an 88-seat eatery complete with new kitchen extension.

But the boss of neighbouring Badger Press, which has been located in the adjoining building for the past 28 years, claims the move would be “catastrophic” to his business – rendering deliveries to the rear yard troublesome.

Speaking at a meeting of the Lake District National Park Authority’s development control committee last Wednesday, Badger Press director Dennis Bland said: “We think it would be impossible to conduct our business there should this go ahead.

“For 28 years we have been tenants, have grown the business over that time and employ 12 local, skilled craftsmen.

“It’s not the change of use of the building that we object to, just the extension. It would be devastating to our business.”

Mr Bland, along with business partner David Hunt, claimed the extension to the rear of the property housing the new kitchen would make access to the shared yard difficult. Deliveries and turning vehicles would become a hazard, they added.

The application for change of use and the kitchen extension was made after the warehouse had remained out of use since April 2010 despite aggressive marketing.

The committee was told three firms were already interested in taking on the lease at the property should the proposals get the go-ahead. But Alban Cassidy, agent for the applicant Jetty UK Ltd, said the new restaurant cafe business would be only marginally viable without the extension.

He told the committee he was happy to sit down with Badger Press bosses to find an acceptable solution to the issue in the coming weeks.

Before delegating the decision to LDNPA head of planning David McGowan, committee member Jeremy Rowan-Robinson said: “We have two competing interests here. I fully support the application to bring into re-use a vacant unit but I am equally in favour of protecting the existing business.

“The best option is to delegate this to officers for a solution to be found.”

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