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Anger at move to put a wine bar in Skipton Town Hall
7:00am Thursday 29th August 2013 in News
A Skipton councillor has heavily criticised plans that could see a wine bar opening in the town hall.
Yesterday, Craven District Council’s Planning Committee was recommended to approve the change of use of the ground floor of Skipton Town Hall to a variety of uses.
Proposed shops, offices, cafes and drinking establishments are seen as a way of attracting potential tenants.
But Coun Polly English (Lib Dem, Skipton West) has criticised officials for acting without authority and called for the application to be withdrawn.
She said: “I am incensed at this planning application. At no time has there been member involvement or agreement that this is the way we wish to move forward on re-developing the town hall.”
Following a decision by the council in April to continue to manage the town hall instead of handing it over to the Heritage Trust for the North West, a meeting was held with councillors to discuss ways forward. “At the meeting on June 26 we were asked to put forward ideas and from this the officers seem to have gleaned that we wanted to go forward with this application.
“It is high time the council stopped being led by the nose by officers. They have acted without authority.
“We are elected members who should be taking responsibility for the task set before us, that of restoring the hall to its former glory for the benefit of future generations.”
At yesterday’s meeting, councillors were due to be told that the application sought the change of use of the ground floor to retail, financial and professional services, restaurants, cafes and drinking establishments.
One of the four units is used by Skipton Tourist Information Centre, a second for two days a week by a recruitment company on a temporary basis, while the other two are either disused or used for storage.
The “blanket” approval would allow the creation of four retail units with no restriction on hours and with access via the normal hall entrances.
Skipton Town Council has objected to the plans on the grounds that its members have resolved the building should be maintained as a community asset.
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