Brighton business owner told he can’t turn shop into café

Plans to turn a former clothes shop into a café have been thwarted after the owner lost his planning appeal.

Cristo Doda, who owns 15 Cranbourne Street, Brighton, the former site of Rag Freak clothes shop, wants to convert it into a café to reflect changes in shopping habits.

Brighton and Hove City Council planners refused permission for a food outlet, saying that a change of use would harm the “vitality and sustainability of the regional shopping centre”.

In his appeal, Mr Doda said that many shops in the area were finding it hard to “make ends meet” as the internet “revolutionised” shopping habits.

He said: “Shops around me have changed to cafés and restaurants and are making a good return on their hard work and are surviving.

“The location of my shop is ideal for shoppers and visitors to sit down, relax, enjoy a meal and watch the world go by.”

Mr Doda said that there were no objections to the plans.

He added: “The city centres are already becoming ghost towns so I can’t understand the logic behind the local authority’s decision.”

But planning inspector Neil Holdsworth upheld the council’s decision, describing the shop as within the “prime retail frontage of a regional shopping centre”.

He said that he noted the “economic challenges” that shops face but as there was no “historic vacancy” he did not see why the site could not continue as a shop.

Mr Holdsworth said: “It was clear from my observations on site that a significant number of the units along Cranbourne Street are in non-retail use, with a particular focus on food and drink outlets.

“The low proportion of retail units means that the desirability of the street is a place for shopping is diminished.

“The change of use of this site to a café would further consolidate this trend, undermining the function of the road as primarily being a place for shopping.”

  1. Christopher Hawtree Reply

    That gaudy front of the shop can hardly encourage people to go inside for whatever it is trying to sell.

    • Sarah Reply

      The Union Flag on the front of Rag Freak takes me back to my 70s childhood. I bought a few bits in there during my 1980s Goth period.

      It had a sibling shop in West Street with the Stars and Stripes painted on the front.

      • Christopher Hawtree Reply

        Wow! A memoir of your Goth phase could be a bestseller!

        • Sarah Reply

          I doubt it. A friend reminded me the West Street shop was Supertramp.

  2. rolivan Reply

    Looking at the shop window it looks like it is a Cafe already.
    If he waits a little longer he might find that proposed planning laws will be changed.

  3. Theresa Caputto Reply

    It’s his shop. He should be able to do with it whatever he pleases. What kind of brain-dead planners are that? What a shame! Brighton has turned into a complete and utter ghetto where people are barely able to make ends meet.

    • BrightonReader Reply

      That’s not how planning works. Premises have planning approval for certain things and an owner can’t just change that because they want they have to apply to change the classification.

      And if all owners turned their shops into cafes what would people spend their money on. There are only a certain number of cafe a street or streets can sustain. Part of the attraction of Brighton to visitors is the range of small, independent, specialist shops. If they go then so do the visitors.

      And this is an independent inspector confirming the Councils decision. If he thought the council was wrong he would have allowed the owners appeal. But he rejected it.

  4. Biz Reply

    Oh another cafe! Much needed -_-

  5. Hector Bouloffs Reply

    Yawn yawn yawn , thank goodness they say no to another rip off coffee hole
    🤮🤮🤮🤮🤮🤮🤮

  6. Chatterbox Reply

    Normally i,d say not another coffee shop, but It does seem a bit unfair. Especially in the current climate. And as I,ve just read that McDonald’s want to open in Asda Hollingbury. (Which I know isn’t in the a area). The council need to support the small business man/woman. Otherwise it’s going to be yet another empty shop.

  7. Danny McManus Reply

    Sarah, there were 4 shops all owned by mr Winston. Rag freak supertramo, the just gear and first stop in Ayr Street

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