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Fish shop plan is thrown out
3:42pm Monday 21st January 2013 in Latest News
A BID to convert a former fish shop in Westbury town centre into homes has met opposition from town councillors.
The move to change the use of the premises, in Maristow Street, into homes is being recommended for refused by Westbury Town Council.
Chris and Margaret Friend used to sell fresh wet fish to Westbury customers at The Real Fish Shop, but the business now only stores the fish before it is sold from a delivery van.
The owners, who have been trading for 28 years, want to convert the Grade II listed building into a house. But although Mr and Mrs Friend say that operating their business from the shop is no longer viable, councillors on the town’s highways, planning and development committee do not want to see another shop in the town close for good.
Mrs Friend said: “e were forced to close the shop a few years ago when the Morrison’s supermarket in Edward Street opened with its own fish counter.
“There’s also the Co-op store in Bitham Brook which sells packaged fish as well as the proposed opening of the Aldi store on the car showroom site on Warminster Road.
“We still sell fresh fish from our delivery van, which my husband runs every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, going to Bath, Devizes and Trowbridge,– but the selling of fish has become unsustainable for us.”
Westbury Town Council’s objection also said the council has seen no evidence of the owners trying to sell the premises for commercial use.
Westbury Chamber of Commerce president and councillor David Jenkins said: “It would be a huge shame if we lost another business premises to private accommodation, which is why the council voted against the application.
“We need to be in a position where we can offer businesses the opportunity of moving into Westbury, but if we keep changing commercial premises to dwellings we will not be able to encourage investment.”
The plan will now be decided by Wiltshire Council’s planning committee.