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Prehistoric planning laws holding up growth, says Barton businessman

By The Citizen  |  Posted: January 15, 2014


Comments (5)

Outdated planning laws are strangling economic growth and restricting further investment in Gloucester, according to frustrated Barton businessman Saqib Rasul.

Mr Rasul’s plans to revitalise the Barton Street Picturedrome, a building he rents, could be shelved unless his calls for a relaxation of strict planning rules are heard.

The businessman is due in court in March to answer charges relating to a breach of planning law.

He has put advertising stickers in the windows of the Vauxhall Mart in Barton Street, a listed building, and is refusing to take them down.

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Mr Rasul is also being forced to replace new doors he has put into his adjacent office.

The building lies in a conservation area and the new doors do not comply with planning regulation.

The work will cost him around £1200 to rectify - despite other buildings nearby having similar powdered aluminium doors.

He has also been told he must remove a recess at the front of a new shop he has recently opened in Worcester Street. The Kingsholm convenience store has red security shutters that also do not comply with regulations and must be replaced, costing a further £1800.

He said: “If I had not taken over the shop, it would have been left empty. I am providing a community service and the council with business rates. Planners could assist growth, instead they put investors off. Businesses deter crime, attitudes have to change. Money is not the issue, it is the attitude they have that causes constant delays. I accept there must be rules and regulations, but by working together we can help build the economy. I’ve been asked to replace a door on a derelict building that is to be completely rebuilt soon. It is unreasonable.”

The Picturedrome development work could cost up to £3 million, and will include a restaurant and new auditorium.

A city council spokesperson said: “The council aims to balance its architectural heritage against the sometimes competing economic arguments. When issues arise, officers work closely with property owners and try to find a solution which works for both parties. In both these cases permission was not sought before the works took place, and with the Vauxhall Mart, members have refused a retrospective planning application and the government refused an appeal against it. As the owner refuses to restore the buildings back to the former state, the council feels it has no option but to pursue enforcement action to achieve this.”

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  • GlosAnarchy  |  January 16 2014, 2:12PM

    Justica - I could not agree more, look at the windows of shops like Southgate New a mess of posters advertising sheep phone cards etc!

    |   -19
  • GlosAnarchy  |  January 16 2014, 11:37AM

    Look what happened in the center of Gloucester, this could/should not happen now! Costa in Southgate installed metal doors and were made to replace them with wooden doors, did they run to the papers like a spoiled child? NO! He's now resorting to blackmail, I hope he gets the criminal record he deserves, the old Vaxhaul pub was a beautiful building and covering it in tacky stickers was just out of order!

    |   -23
  • Snappy_Happer  |  January 16 2014, 2:16AM

    All he's asking for is the right to do whatever the hell he pleases...

  • Justica  |  January 15 2014, 5:15PM

    No, the laws are NOT outdated. They are there to stop areas looking like third world shanty towns and with historic places of interest, preserve them. More power to the planners for rejecting greed dressed up as 'economic growth'.

  • Kay_Powell  |  January 15 2014, 4:10PM

    The rules are the same in conservation areas everywhere, not just in Gloucester. It was apparently a government planning inspector who upheld the council's decision. Destroying buildings of historic interest doesn't really help with 'growth' anyway.

    |   -19