Frustrated Norwich planners agree restaurant to replace Boots pharmacy

The former Boots in Colman Road, Norwich, could be turned into a restaurant/takeaway.

The former Boots in Colman Road, Norwich, can be turned into a restaurant after approval from the planning committee. - Credit: Dan Grimmer

A former Boots chemist is to be turned into a restaurant and takeaway – but it has highlighted the waning powers of councils when it comes to such changes.

The pharmacy on Colman Road, near Eaton Park, closed last year, despite protests from councillors and neighbours.

A government change in planning law means Norwich City Council cannot stop retail units being turned into restaurants.

But applicant Cengiz Ceker still needed to get planning permission to install a new shopfront and kitchen extraction flue.

The city council planning committee granted permission on Thursday – albeit with some expressions of frustration that conditions could not be attached due to the planning legislation changes.

Mr Ceker intends to turn it into The Sultan Restaurant and Coffee Shop, with seating for 80 people.

The venue will create six full-time jobs and five part-time ones, opening from 6am until midnight seven days a week.

Most Read

A number of neighbours objected, citing concerns over noise from the restaurant, customer parking and the number of food outlets already operating on the parade.

And Judith Lubbock, Liberal Democrat councillor for Eaton ward, said it was frustrating legislation changes meant the committee could not set conditions, including over the opening hours.

She said: “It’s just so frustrating that we have no control over the hours of operation.

“This could be open until midnight, while others would be closed before that time, because they got permission before the changes came in.

“There’s very little space to park cars and if there’s to be restaurant seated covers, where will they park their cars?

“It needs to be brought to people’s attention – the legislation this government is introducing and the impact that will have on people’s lives.”

Labour councillor Ian Stutely, who represents Town Close, agreed: “It is frustrating that we don’t have the means to condition and there’s no reason to refuse this application.”

He said that, if the applicant were to seek to provide late night refreshments, then there could be a mechanism for the licensing committee to impose conditions.

Ten members of the committee voted in favour of the application, with Mrs Lubbock abstaining.

The parade already includes Greggs, East Chinese, Domino's and Papa John's.