Telford pub's smoking shelter application refused

A pub has lost its bid to get planning permission for smoking shelters it says are “fundamental to the longevity and survival” of the business and the building.

The Duke of York in Oakengates. Photo: Google
The Duke of York in Oakengates. Photo: Google

The Duke of York, in Oakengates, had the structures added at the front and rear in summer 2019, in addition to new fences.

After correspondence from Telford and Wrekin Council’s planning enforcement department, pub management applied for retrospective permission for the work. The borough council has now turned down the application.

In a report explaining the decision, planning officers noted that the Market Street pub was built nearly two centuries ago and is registered as a “Local Interest Building”. They added that the front shelter is an “incongruous intrusion” harming its “interest and character” and that of neighbouring historic buildings.

A design statement, submitted on publican Julian Sanders’s behalf by Wellington-based planning agent Duane Morris, said: “The external shelter will be utilised for special occasions only, such as public events like the Oakengates Carnival. During other times it will be used only as an enclosed smoking shelter.

“The works are fundamental to the operating of the business to safeguard the building’s existence. Furthermore, the works are considered to be minor and there are no structural alterations required nor to be undertaken.”

But the planners’ report noted that the current Telford and Wrekin Local Plan opposes development that might “have an adverse impact upon the character, form and fabric of a building of local interest or would remove or mask major features of interest”.

“It is considered that the provision of a smoking shelter is acceptable in principle, subject to appropriate siting, design and materials,” it added, but said the structure in the pub’s front garden “dominates the building’s front facade” and “its presence spoils the building’s architectural proportions”.

The recently-added timber fencing nearby was also ruled “unacceptable as the materials are not sympathetic to the character of the building or the Oakengates street scene”.

The report added: “The siting of an external smoking shelter in the building’s rear courtyard is acceptable in principle. However, the Perspex roof is visible from the parking area and creates a jarring aesthetic which causes harm to the building’s character.

“Consideration could be given to a smoking shelter in that location which has a different roof and/or is constructed of materials more in keeping with the building’s character and architectural merits.”

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