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Old fishmongers in Wrexham could become cafe

The empty unit in St George's Crescent, Wrexham (Pic: Google Street View)

AN OLD fishmongers in Wrexham city centre could become a café if plans are approved next week.

The council’s planning committee will meet to decide on a change of use application for the vacant unit at 36 St George’s Crescent in Smithfield.

According to the plans submitted by the applicant, the café would be open between 6am and 6pm Monday to Friday, as well as from 8am to 6pm on Saturdays.

Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board have raised concerns about the proposal.

The health board cites how close it is to education settings (less than one mile / 20 minute walk),  current takeaways, restaurants, shops selling food and drink high in fat, salt and sugar and the health challenges within the Wrexham area related to obesity and weight issues.

These concerns are addressed in a planning officer’s report which recommends approving the application.

The report, to be read by councillors before making a decision, states there are no specific policies about the density of restaurants, cafes and takeaways in an area.

It says: “Planning Policy Wales ‘Promoting Healthier Places’ does set out the important role the planning system has in promoting the ‘Healthier Wales’ goal.

“However, this seeks to promote measures to reduce health inequalities by enabling opportunities for outdoor recreation and promoting active travel etc. rather than restricting numbers of food outlets.

“Whilst the proposed development is for a café rather than hot foot takeaway, it is necessary to consider if the sale of hot food for consumption off the premises would give rise to any material harm.

“The proposed development would be in excess of 400m from a school or from Coleg Cambria, thus according with this guidance. In addition, five other Class A3 premises are within 100m of the proposed development, all selling food for consumption off the premises.

“There are also other such premises within the wider city centre.

“Having regard to the above, although the proposal would result in an increase in the availability of hot food for consumption off the premises within the local area, it would not materially worsen the health and wellbeing of local residents or visitors to the city centre.”

The report adds: “The application site lies within an established mixed use commercial area where a wide range of food and drink options are already available.

“Accordingly there is no reason to conclude that the option of using the building for Class A3 use would materially worsen unhealthy eating behaviours. Additionally the proposal would not give rise to amenity or highway safety concerns.”

The planning committee will have the final say on the application when it meets on Monday (September 4).