New Fareham tea room is given go-ahead as neighbour objects

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PERMISSION has been given for a new tea room in Fareham town centre, despite an objection from a similar business several doors along the same road.

Frances and Dave Stillwell put in an application for a change of use from retail to tea room at 168 West Street. They plan to trade as the Vintage Tea Room

The unit had previously been an antiques shop, but has been empty for several months.

But Kathie East, who opened Kraftea at 188 West Street in April, sent a letter of objection, raising concerns that there would not be enough trade for both businesses to survive.

Mr Stillwell, from Gosport, said: ‘We’ve been talking about doing this for the past year or so. We had wanted to do something together, and then we saw this opportunity.

‘The building was right and the location was right, so we thought we would go for it.

‘We’re aiming to open at the end of July. I’ve got the electricians coming at the weekend, the plasterers next week, then the chippy and the decorators – it’s all systems go.’

He added: ‘Competition is healthy and there’s enough footfall for us to do our own thing.’

Ms East said: ‘I’m only in my ninth week here, and I’ve been promoting and promoting as much as I possibly can, but it has been difficult.’

And she is worried that people heading towards then from the main shopping area in Fareham will stop at the first tea room they come to.

She added: ‘I’m still trying to establish my business, I’ve been doing 68 hours a week, so I don’t know how I will survive with a carbon copy a few doors away.

‘When I opened up, there was nothing else like this on this side of the street. We need more variety of businesses at this end of the town to draw more people along here.’

At a meeting of Fareham Borough Council’s planning committee, Cllr Peter Davies said: ‘This will encourage activity in this part of West Street which is a jolly good thing.’

Cllr Paul Whittle added: ‘I welcome applications like this which bring units back into occupation in the town centre – this is a good proposal.’

An officer’s report said ‘it is questionable whether there is a need for another cafe within the area’ but recommended approving the application.

The committee agreed unanimously to grant the change of use.