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Permission granted for workers' café on former food processing factory site in Wisbech




Part of a food processing factory in Wisbech is to be turned into a workers' café/takeaway after Fenland Counc granted permission for the change of use this week.

Mr T Weaver, of Mr Charcoal Ltd, applied for the change of use at the former Moy Park site in Mount Pleasant Road, as he prepares to relocate his business from London to Wisbech.

Information provided on Mr Weaver's behalf in a supporting statement explains he has paid a "substantial deposit" to buy 17,700sq ft of the former chicken processing factory's 112,000 sq ft from its current owners, Prospect Estates, who bought the site in February last year.

Plans to convert a small part of the former Moy Park factory into a workers' cafe have been approved this week (19542779)
Plans to convert a small part of the former Moy Park factory into a workers' cafe have been approved this week (19542779)

Since then Prospect Estates have started dividing the business floor space into 12 to 15 separate units with MOT centre, garage repairs and food processing among the uses.

The statement explains Mr Charcoal Ltd mainly supplies high quality charcoal to restaurants and others but is looking to diversify and expand the business in Wisbech.

However, the business does not need all the space and so Mr Weaver wants to subdivide the piece he is purchasing into smaller units, and the first phase is to create a café/takeaway for the whole site and "the whole of the surrounding employment area, which has no café/takeaway facilities."

Plans to convert a small part of the former Moy Park factory into a workers' cafe have been approved this week (19542783)
Plans to convert a small part of the former Moy Park factory into a workers' cafe have been approved this week (19542783)

The 2.5 hectare site in Mount Pleasant Road was originally on the market with commercial property specialists German Fisher for offers in the region of £2 million but the price tag dropped to £1.5 million, before it sold last year.

At one time food processing firm Moy Park employed over 350 people at the factory which focused on cooked whole birds, marinated chicken, snacking products and cooked sliced meats.That number was dramatically reduced to just 19 in 2013 with the factory gates closing for the last time in January 2016, when the operation was relocated to other Moy Park sites including Grantham as part of company’s plans to ‘streamline’.

The statement in support of the change of use to a café says: "Prospect Estates Ltd have been marketing the site for leasing or purchasing since they acquired it in 2018. Before that we understand it was also for sale soon after the factory closed. The premises have, therefore, been on the market for at least three years."

Plans to convert a small part of the former Moy Park factory into a workers' cafe have been approved this week (19542788)
Plans to convert a small part of the former Moy Park factory into a workers' cafe have been approved this week (19542788)

It claims around 84,300sq ft of the premises is currently unused and on the market. "This is most of the site floor space" says the statement, which adds the café is 1,399 sq ft i.e 1.2 per cent of the existing floor area and is, therefore, insignificant and inconsequential, with no adverse effects. The café will create employment, probably at a higher density per m2 than B1 uses - that is most businesses.

The statement concludes: "These proposals will enhance the facilities on the site and the surrounding employment area and also the local economy. These proposals are ancillary to and inconsequential in terms of the predominant Class B uses.

"Most importantly, the employment created by the café/takeaway will be at least the same as for Class B use and probably greater and, therefore, complies with the objectives of planning policy."


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