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Vape shop to appeal over closure threat

By Alex Moore | Telford | News | Published:

A vape shop has been given two months to shut down because the council accuses it of operating outside planning permission, but a director says the business has been unfairly singled out.

The interior of Amigo Vapes, Stafford Park, Telford

Amgio Vapes sells e-cigarette equipment, supplies and related products on Telford’s Stafford Park industrial estate.

In an enforcement notice, Telford and Wrekin Council says the premises, previously unused offices that were used for storage, are on a “strategic employment area” authorised for business, industrial or storage use, and change-of-use consent would be “unlikely” to be granted.

The business says it will appeal and Amigo Vapes director Richard Morris said: “It employs somebody, where it didn’t before. From an employment point of view, shutting it down would be a negative."

The shop takes up the front 368 square feet of a 11,000-square-foot unit. The remainder of the space is occupied by LVS Small Plastic Parts Ltd, a company where Mr Morris is also a director.

He accepts the use of the space for retail purposes goes against a strict interpretation of “strategic employment area” rules, but adds that other businesses in the zone offer retail services, like fast food, to employees working nearby.

Others, he says, including a place of worship and a cultural centre, appear to be neither industrial premises nor what the notice calls “ancillary use”.

Mr Morris said: “Ninety-five percent of our customers are people who work in Stafford Park.

“The feedback is very good. People are very complimentary and they keep coming back.

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“Our frustration is we were trying to do something good with a redundant space. We look around and say ‘Why us?'”

The notice, issued to the property, says: “Whilst the floorspace used for the development is modest, the local planning authority considers its use would contribute to a piecemeal erosion of the site’s intended use.”

It adds “the sale of a comparison good, vaping equipment, is not considered an ancillary use that supports B use activity”, and that “the council does not consider that planning permission should be given, because planning conditions could not overcome these problems.”

The enforcement notice, requiring Amigo Vapes to stop selling from the premises and remove displays and signage within a month, will come into effect on March 27. Mr Morris said they plan to appeal.

Alex Moore

By Alex Moore
@TelfordLDR

Local Democracy Reporter covering Telford.

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