Co-op expansion plan approved in Widdrington Station - but loss of Northumberland village chippy lamented

Plans to extend a convenience store in a Northumberland village – with the loss of its chippy – have been approved.

The planning application seeking permission to expand the Co-op store in Widdrington Station was approved by Northumberland County Council.

The application met with one objector lamenting the loss of the fish and chip shop.

Helen Wilson, of Parkside Gardens, wrote: ‘The position of the Widdy Chippy beside the Co-op is mutually beneficial as it leads to increased trade for both businesses. Speaking from my own perspective, going to the Co-op can lead to me buying fish suppers for my family.

The Co-op at Widdrington Station. Picture by Jane Coltman

‘It is folly to close a successful business when there is so much unused space behind the Co-op. The site has three vacant and two rarely-open units in addition to the storage units that adjoin the proposed cold storage. Working with the site as a whole would allow other ways to extend the Co-op without closing the chip shop.’

She also raised concerns about the narrow road accessing the car park.

However, council planning officer Richard Laughton, granting approval using delegated powers, reported: ‘The proposal would extend an existing convenience store and help secure its long-term future therefore enhancing the existing facilities to the benefit of the community promoting economic development in a sustainable location.

‘Whilst there may be loss of a hot food takeaway, the proposal would not conflict with the national and local plan policies due to the enhancement of an existing shopping facility in a sustainable location.’

No objection was raised by the highways department.

A report on the behalf of applicant, MK SIPP Trustees UK, stated: ‘The additional floorspace will be created and facilitated by the extension and change of use of the fish and chip shop… which remains applicable to takeaway uses until 31 July 2021.

‘It will help to provide a larger convenience store which can operate more efficiently, with a larger back of house floorspace as well as an increased sales area resulting from the change of use of the takeaway.’

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