Planners check new town cafe

A NATIONAL cafe chain has been warned they could face enforcement action if they are deemed to have broken planning laws by opening up in an historic riverside town.

Caff� Nero has opened its doors at a premises in The Thoroughfare, Woodbridge, formerly occupied by Wine Rack.

However, the property is currently designated for retail use only and the chain is not believed to have applied for planning permission for a change of use.

The EADT reported earlier this month how Caff� Nero was planning to open in Woodbridge.

A spokesman for the cafe chain was unavailable for comment last night, but Suffolk Coastal District Council said it will be looking at the situation carefully.

“We are aware the outlet has opened and are monitoring the situation to determine whether or not there has been a change of use to a Class A3 (caf�) premises,” a spokesman said. “If a breach of planning control has occurred the council will then have to determine whether it is appropriate to take enforcement action and if necessary serve an enforcement notice.”

The authority has previously said that change of use planning permission would be required if the unit was to become a caf� and that the area of the Thoroughfare has a “long established planning policy” of retail shop use at ground-floor level.

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The news of the opening has generated considerable concern in Woodbridge and planning bosses are being asked to take action.

Town centre manager Marion Wells said: “I would urge the council to be as vigilant as possible about this.

“I’m aware that in the past local business people have had advice from the council that they would not be permitted to open a cafe in that area of the town and so they haven’t proceeded.

“I know there is a lot of strong feeling within the business community and local residents.’’