Planning Inspectorate confirms Molly’s Den decision

An independent planning inspector has rejected an appeal from the operators of Molly’s Den.

The retail centre and café based in old shipping containers at Moorside Road in Winnall opened without planning consent in August 2014.

The City Council refused permission in May 2015 and issued an enforcement notice in November.

The inspector’s ruling supports the Council’s decision and gives the owners four months to stop their activities on the site.

Cllr Victoria Weston, Winchester City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Built Environment, said:

The issue with Molly’s Den is not what it does but where it is located. The Council welcomes retail activities of this type in the town centre where they are in sustainable locations and contribute to the vitality of the city.

The Council’s decision to take enforcement action was based on sound local and national policy designed to support town centres. It is also important to protect a successful commercial and industrial area like Winnall from premises being converted to uses which may then prove incompatible with existing occupiers.

The Council’s enforcement notice was subject to an appeal and was independently considered by a planning inspector who agreed with the Council’s position based on national and local policy and on the facts of the case.

Cllr Weston added:

If Molly’s Den can find suitable premises in the town centre we would be delighted. The Council is keen to promote small and independent retailers in the right place.