The applicants were in attendance.
The Licensing Officer introduced the report and drew attention to the following:
· There are medieval vaults underneath the site. Structure officers have supplied a map of the site. There are complex loading issues that mean the site is structurally unsound. Even if a heavy vehicle is not directly above a vault, there is a danger of diagonal loading putting pressure on a vault. These vaults are on the heritage list so need protecting.
· Any heavy vehicle or structure on this site presents a health and safety risk to owners and customers, up to and including death should a vault collapse.
· Structural officers are unable to attend the meeting but strongly recommend that the application be refused.
The applicants gave the following evidence:
· That the applicants’ business was a top rated restaurant in the city and was very much a local business.
· There were delays in the application process caused by the confusing designation of the site and not being able to determine which part of the Council was responsible for it.
· The applicants proposed a new location for their food truck in light of the structural issues presented by the vaults, which is currently used by heavy vehicles to empty waste bins on the site.
· That the site is a main point of entrance to the city and has been dilapidated for a long time, and the proposal is an opportunity to regenerate the space.
· There are large developments around the site with commercial need.
· The applicants believe the site structure is more secure than BCC officers have stated and that the truck will be away from any areas of concern.
· Previous planning applications related to the 1962 Norwich Union building on the site would have been mindful of any structural issues related to the vaults and this building was still completed with considerable concrete reinforcement.
· The applicants supplied a presentation to the Committee which showed a proposed new location, access routes to the site, expected limit of the underground vaults and details of the Norwich Union construction.
After questioning from the committee, the following information was confirmed:
· That there has been no consent for anything on this site for the past 10 years
· That the original intention was for the food truck to be at the site for 24 hours, but applicants were flexible about moving offsite at night.
· The site has a historical designation as a car/lorry park, but this has not been in practical effect for a very long time.
· That the policy on street trading states that it should not present a safety risk to the public.
· That the public safety issues present a considerable liability issue for the Council.
· That although the applicant has suggested a new location for their truck which may mitigate some safety issues, the Committee must make a decision based on the current application.
· That the food truck weighs 6 tons fully loaded with food and staff.
· One Member had been inside the vaults and believed them to be extensive and close to the surface.
· That if the Committee were to refuse the current application based on the site location, the applicant could consult with BCC structural and licensing officers before making another application.
The Committee withdrew to deliberate on their decision.
RESOLVED (unanimous vote)
After careful consideration and while the Committee has sympathy for the applicants and their proposal, the Committee voted unanimously to refuse the application as it currently stands on Health and Safety Grounds. The Committee recommended that the applicants submit an application after suitable consultation with the Council’s Highways and Structural Officers.