Agenda item

20220813 - Prince Albert Public House, 26 Wrotham Road, Gravesend, Kent, DA11 0PW


Resolved that application 20220813 be REFUSED planning permission as per the grounds set out in the report.


The Committee considered planning application 20220813 in relation to the Prince Albert, 26 Wrotham Road, Gravesend, Kent, DA11 0PW.  This application was for the continued use as a Public House and Restaurant with the creation of an ancillary Shisha area.  As part of the application, permission was sought to retain the timber structures within the beer garden, with minor amendments, for use as outdoor restaurant seating and for smoking shisha.


The Planning Officer advised that the site was adjacent to the Town Centre Opportunity Area as designated by Gravesham’s Local Plan Core Strategy (LPCS) (2014) and was within the Upper Windmill Street Conservation Area.


The Committee was informed that a timber structure was erected on site, and this was subsequently brought to the attention and investigated by GBC Planning Enforcement in June 2021. The structure was said to be temporary by the owner but required planning permission. However no application was submitted. The structure was later extended and converted into a shisha bar (February 2022), with advertisements erected within the Conservation Area. GBC Environmental Protection was notified of the development and in its own investigation found that the structure was substantially enclosed, and was non-compliant as either a smoking shelter or a Shisha bar, contrary to the Health Act 2006.


The Planning Officer advised that there were two main issues with the proposal; the poor quality of design and material used in a Conservation Area and the impact of the proposal on the neighbouring amenity, with noise, fumes and potential anti-social behaviour. On that basis, the Officer’s recommendation was for refusal.


Members were invited to ask questions for clarification with the following points being raised:


·         Members referred to the layout of the structure.  The plan showed two areas one for the outside restaurant and one for the smoking area and asked whether they were separate. The Planning Officer confirmed that the two areas were separate


·         Members queried why this application was not a retrospective planning application and why it was being presented to the Committee due to other departments having outstanding enforcement issues with the establishment.  The Service Manager (Planning) advised that planning legislation allowed for applicants to submit planning applications for development where no Enforcement Notice has been issued and that the application would need to be determined inline with the Development Plan and material considerations.


The Committee heard the views of Cllr Baljit Hayre, Ward Councillor for Pelham.


The Committee expressed concern regarding the impact the proposal would have on the Conservation Area and neighbouring amenity, with noise, fumes and potential anti-social behaviour.



Resolved that the application be REFUSED for the following reasons:


1.    The proposed change of use of the beer garden into a shisha area will materially

impact the amenity of adjoining neighbours by virtue of unacceptable levels of noise

and disturbance as well as fugitive odours. The unsubstantial structure will shelter

users in all weather conditions enabling year-round use, but cannot achieve adequate sound proofing or smoke and odour control to mitigate noise nuisance and fugitive smoke and odour emissions whilst meeting Smoke free regulations which require an open air structure. Therefore, the development fails to provide adequate mitigation to safeguard neighbour amenity and is contrary to Policy CS19 of Gravesham’s Local Plan Core Strategy (2014) and Section 12 National Planning Policy Framework (2021).


2.   The structures are disproportionate in scale and poorly designed additions within the

smoking area, which appear as a ramshackle quality and of incongruous design due to differing roof forms and poor quality external finishes in a prominent position visible

from the street. As such, the development has a detrimental impact on the character

and appearance of the street scene, fails to preserve or enhance the quality of the host building or the Conservation Area setting. Therefore, the development fails statutory test s72(1) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990, is contrary to Policies CS19 and CS20 of Gravesham’s Local Plan Core Strategy (2014), saved policies TC2 and TC3 of the Gravesham Local Plan First Review (1994), as well as Sections 12 and 16 of the National Planning Policy Framework (2021).






For the avoidance of doubt, the decision to refuse this application was taken in relation to the following forms, plans and documents comprising the application:


·         Application Form (dated 22/07/2022);

·         Supplementary Information - Planning and Heritage Statement (dated 22/07/2022);

·         Drawing no. 001 - Rev. A - Site Location and Existing and Proposed Block Plans;

·         Drawing no. 002 - Rev. A - Existing Floor Plans;

·         Drawing no. 003 - Rev. A - Existing Elevations;

·         Drawing no. 004 - Rev. A - Proposed Floor Plans;

·         Drawing no. 005 - Rev. A - Proposed Elevations.




In accordance with Article 35 (2) of the Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (England) Order 2015 (as amended), and paragraph 38 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) 2021, the Local Planning Authority has approached the assessment and determination of this application in a positive and creative way and, where appropriate, has worked pro-actively with the applicant to secure a development that is sustainable and that improves the economic, social and environmental conditions of the area, and that is in accordance with the Development Plan for the area.


Note:         (1) Cllr Baljit Hayre spoke with leave of the Chair.


Supporting documents: