Update on 19/02/2020: Since publishing this article, the application for this retail space to be turned into a nail bar with a sui generis designation has been withdrawn by the applicant.
Roman Road Trust, the citizen-led urban regeneration group, has launched a campaign to prevent a shop in a prime high street location from losing its legal designation as a retail space.
The shop, Sew Amazing, had closed in November 2019 and was a family-run haberdashery on the high street since 1947.
This currently empty space is now categorised as A1 Retail: an urban planning category meaning the building can only be used for retail or service businesses.
However, if the new application is accepted it will be turned into a nail bar and will be stripped of this A1 classification – leaving it as a sui generis building.
This new designation means there are no restrictions on what the building can be used for in the future.
Roman Road Trust is objecting to this proposed change of class use, believing the loss of spaces strictly reserved for shops and services may lead to the high street becoming less attractive to customers.
Trust Director Rosie Vincent explains the importance of this class use system to a thriving high street.
‘Use classes are extremely important in maintaining and regulating the types of businesses on a high street.
‘By ensuring Roman Road contains a good mix of different use classes (not too many of one type and not enough of another), we can ensure our high street successfully serves the needs of those who live here, and encourages local people to shop on Roman Road.
‘This helps to boost the local economy and support Roman Road to thrive.’
Additionally, a recent study conducted by Queen Mary University of London in collaboration with The Trust reveals that Roman Road already has a high concentration of nail bars. There are already at least six hair and beauty businesses per kilometre on Roman Road East.
Citing these reasons, the Trust has launched a campaign to keep the building designated as A1. They are asking those who support the cause to email Tower Hamlets planning and building control, calling for the planning application be rejected.
To object, the Trust has created an email template that local residents and businesses can send to the council. The deadline for appeals against the nail bar planning application is Tuesday 28 January.
Roman Road Trust was established in 2014 and is a local citizen-led organisation based in Bow that aims to develop the economy and community of the local areas around Roman Road.
Roman Road Trust recently campaigned to make planning permission a requirement for developers wanting to change retail units into residential dwellings.
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