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Planning fight over Norwich Elm Hill

PUBLISHED: 11:00 12 February 2010 | UPDATED: 08:06 02 July 2010

The art gallery on Elm Hill

The art gallery on Elm Hill

David Bale

The owner of a Norwich property claimed today the city council refused him planning permission for a change of use to the ground floor - because they say a restored 16th century oak panelled Tudor room should be a shop, even though it had not been one since 2005.

The owner of a Norwich property claimed today the city council refused him planning permission for a change of use to the ground floor - because they say a restored 16th century oak panelled Tudor room should be a shop, even though it had not been one since 2005.

Peter Bentley, who owns the former Contemporary Art Gallery in historic Elm Hill, has appealed against the city council's refusal to grant him planning permission for a change of use of the ground floor from retail to residential.

He said: “We have undertaken to retain the shop windows and continued to display local artists' work in the windows, as we have done since 2005. The house is also open to the public during Heritage Open Days and we feel it contributes greatly to the vitality of the street.”

The council sold the property in 1996 at which time it was empty and in a very poor state of repair.

The building has been stabilised and the interior restored to when it was a merchant's house, he said.

“It seems the council has misunderstood that and have turned down the application, because they want to keep it as a shop. We therefore feel we are justified in asking the council to reconsider its decision through an appeal,” he added.

The application was originally refused because the council said the loss of a retail premises at the site would have a detrimental impact on Elm Hill as a special shopping area and its attraction as a tourist destination.

A council spokeswoman said today: “The council is considering its position and members of the public have until March 8 to put forward their comments or submissions to the planning inspectorate.”

Are you in dispute with the city council over a planning application? Ruing reporter David Bale on 01603 772427 or email david.bale2@archant.co.uk.

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