Councillors to consider new cafe for Southsea street

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AN ASIAN food store in Southsea could become a cafe, although city planning bosses are concerned it would be 'detrimental to the vitality' of the area.

Next week Portsmouth councillors will consider whether to grant planning permission to change half of the Okey Chinese supermarket in Elm Grove to a cafe or restaurant.

The Okey supermarket in Elm Grove, Portsmouth.'Picture: Habibur Rahman

The Okey supermarket in Elm Grove, Portsmouth.'Picture: Habibur Rahman

Officers have recommended the application is refused due to a resulting 'over-concentration of non-shopping uses.'

But the owner of the building, which was previously a Blockbuster video store and then a Morrison's, believed the change of use would be more appropriate.

Owner Bob Levin said: 'It's in a very popular location, and attractive to people who want to come to socialise rather than shop.

'The premises was left in a seriously dilapidated condition for a long time. We know this will work.'

Speaking on behalf of applicant Hersh Karadakh, Mr Levin added: 'It would be an inoffensive cafe opening during day time hours, which will serve hot drinks and soft drinks and a range of food. Breakfasts will be a major part of it.

'It is leased out at the moment for use as a food store. If we get the planning permission then it could become a cafe in the future.'

However, in their report council offers said: 'The proposed change of use from Class A1 to Class A3 (cafe/ restaurant) would result in an over-concentration of non-shopping uses that would be detrimental to the vitality and viability of the district centre.'

No objections have been made against the application, although neighbouring property owner, Tim Doran, commented that the cafe's extractor unit should be placed on the building's roof rather than on the side of the property to not obstruct the alleyway.

Portsmouth City Council's planning committee will make a decision on the application at a meeting on Wednesday, November 6.

If approved the cafe would open between 6am and 5pm on weekdays and Saturdays, and from 8am to 4pm on Sundays and bank holidays. It is thought it would create 20 jobs.

The Okey Chinese supermarket was approached for comment.