Outdated planning laws are strangling economic growth and restricting further investment in Gloucester, according to frustrated Barton businessman Saqib Rasul.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