Wagamama says it’s pleased by a local petition in support of the chain coming to Reigate.
The e-petition was launched after Reigate & Banstead Borough Council refused Wagamama’s application to change the former Edward Dean showroom from retail to restaurant use. This was on the basis of local planning policy which says main shopping areas should have at least 80% retail frontage: that part of Bell Street is already down to 75%. There was also said to be a lack of information on attempts to first market the site for retail use.
The petition, started by a local resident, now has over 1,300 signatures. Wagamama told reigate.uk on Thursday:
“We are very pleased with the warmth we have received from the local petition for wagamama to come to Reigate, and we will continue to work towards opening a restaurant in the area.”
A response to the petition from Andrew Benson, Major Development Manager at the council, has been published on the petition’s webpage. In the e-mail Mr Benson said:
“I have seen the petition and the application is clearly well supported by many Reigate residents. Indeed within the planning department itself it is fair to say that views on the proposal were mixed with some for and some against. It is partly because of the strength of views and differences of opinion that it was referred up to the planning committee to make the decision.
Whilst Wagamamas is a very popular restaurant chain, we must make decisions in accordance with adopted policies. In this case the policy protecting a certain amount of retail uses. Planning can’t differentiate between applicants and so we were left with a decision on whether to protect the retail use or allow another restaurant. No case had been made as to why continued retail use may be unviable as the policy would normally require (the unit has not been marketed for retail use) and therefore we were left with little option but to recommend refusal which the planning committee members voted in favour of. “
Mr Benson’s response added that if the council had given its approval, it could not protect other shops in the town from becoming restaurants or takeaways. He said the decision could not be reconsidered, but did flag the possibility of Wagamama appealing or re-applying.
Residents have posted comments for and against a Wagamama in Reigate on social media, including on reigate.uk’s Facebook page.
Petition (includes link to council officer response)
Minor edit for clarity 20 April 2016.Share this: