Celebrations as sex shop bid is rejected

By Richard SmithCAMPAIGNERS have been celebrating after a controversial proposal to start a sex shop in their village was thrown out by councillors.The plan to turn a factory unit on the Riverside industrial estate in Wickham Market into premises for retail sale and distribution by mail order of adult material, lingerie and gifts, was refused permission.

By Richard Smith

CAMPAIGNERS have been celebrating after a controversial proposal to start a sex shop in their village was thrown out by councillors.

The plan to turn a factory unit on the Riverside industrial estate in Wickham Market into premises for retail sale and distribution by mail order of adult material, lingerie and gifts, was refused permission.

The decision was taken yesterday by Suffolk Coastal District Council's development control sub-committee.


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Speaking after the meeting, one of the opponents of the plan, Cathy Bladen, of Border Cot Lane, Wickham Market, said: “I am absolutely relieved and very grateful for the decision. We have won a round and if there is an application again we will fight it.”

Sue Lewis, parish council chairman, added: “We are quite delighted. This is the decision the people of Wickham Market wanted and, hopefully, we can get on with our normal lives.”

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Sub-committee chairman, Ivan Jowers, said it had not felt that it was right to allow a unit intended for industrial use to be partially converted into a shop, even with a members' only restriction.

“This proposed change of use flies in the face of our planning policies and would lead to the loss of an industrial unit and would detrimentally affect the official retail area of Wickham Market around the High Street,” he added.

“Its proposed hours of use could also have caused unacceptable levels of noise and disturbance to nearby residents and we feel that it would have given rise to a fear of crime that would detract from the current quality of life enjoyed by residents in Wickham Market.''

The public gallery was packed with almost 50 campaigners opposing the sex shop and Mr Jowers said it appeared some of them had been confused by the decision.

He added: “We were asked by the applicant to agree to a change of use that would enable the unit to be legally used partly as a shop.

“We firmly rejected that proposal, but we have not been asked, and therefore not given, any formal view on whether they can operate from the premises as a mail order only business. If a formal application is made, we will, of course, consult widely.”

The plan received more than 130 letters of complaint and a petition with more than 1,000 names opposing the sex shop was handed to the council.

richard.smith@eadt.co.uk

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