Restaurant in seating wrangle with council

Itsu restaurant in Cornmarket Street

Itsu restaurant in Cornmarket Street

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter. Please call me on (01865) 425411

OXFORD’s new Asian-style fast food restaurant Itsu has applied for a change of use after a council warning. The £1m Cornmarket Street store, which opened at the former site of The Works bookshop last September, classed itself as a retail unit rather than a restaurant.

But the four-floor building has two floors of seating and city council developers are not satisfied with Itsu’s claim it is mainly a take-out venue.

Oxford City Council has warned the chain it could take action if it does not address the change of use issue.

But developers Rolfe Judd Planning, acting on behalf of Itsu, have written to the council to seek middle ground and change the licence to allow a mixed use premises.

They have sent the council a £385 fee to request change of use, and revised flooring documents which outline proposed alterations to the four floors.

A change of use could force the restaurant to make costly alterations to its interior or temporarily close while works are carried out.

A spokesman for Oxford City Council said: “Due to the number of tables and chairs provided across the two floors of the premises, the use is more akin to a mixed use including a restaurant and takeaway rather than just a shop.

“We have asked the owners to apply to change the use to reflect how the building is being used now.

“If they do not apply, it is down to our discretion as to whether we take enforcement action against their unauthorised use.”

The council expects to make a decision by April 14.

Comments (3)

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11:48am Sat 22 Feb 14

Myron Blatz says...

Just close the place down! Too many fracking eateries on Oxford as it is - the place has just become a 'fairground attraction' for tourists - who don't live here, don't pay taxes or council-tax here, and where most of these food and retail outlets aren't owned by local people, and where profits don't stay in Oxford - or in the case of some multi-national and international outlets, where they don't even pay proper tax!
Just close the place down! Too many fracking eateries on Oxford as it is - the place has just become a 'fairground attraction' for tourists - who don't live here, don't pay taxes or council-tax here, and where most of these food and retail outlets aren't owned by local people, and where profits don't stay in Oxford - or in the case of some multi-national and international outlets, where they don't even pay proper tax! Myron Blatz
  • Score: 12

11:34pm Sat 22 Feb 14

LetsBeRational says...

Another case of one rule for them, and one rule for us.
If a houseowner was to build a conservatory after getting planning permission for a shed would the council be so tolerant? No. But businesses are continuing to play the planning system to open food outlets. Starbucks in Headington had the same issue and were taken to court because they claimed to be a 'retail unit'. Many years fighting and did they get closed down, despite breaking rules that meant the LOCAL planning agreements for amount of catering/retail units was breached? No, of course not. They put in a window display and continued to trade with the blessing of the council and at a huge expence of legal action over the years to the taxpayer.
Another case of one rule for them, and one rule for us. If a houseowner was to build a conservatory after getting planning permission for a shed would the council be so tolerant? No. But businesses are continuing to play the planning system to open food outlets. Starbucks in Headington had the same issue and were taken to court because they claimed to be a 'retail unit'. Many years fighting and did they get closed down, despite breaking rules that meant the LOCAL planning agreements for amount of catering/retail units was breached? No, of course not. They put in a window display and continued to trade with the blessing of the council and at a huge expence of legal action over the years to the taxpayer. LetsBeRational
  • Score: 3

10:57am Sun 23 Feb 14

faatmaan says...

enforce the law, or what is the for ?
enforce the law, or what is the for ? faatmaan
  • Score: 1

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