I hadn't noticed that Reg. I suppose it is an ideal location for Domino's, on the main road with car-parking round the back, but you are absolutely right about the planning issue. I couldn't agree more. Somebody somewhere needs to be actively managing what shops are in the Village Centre, so that we've got a full range and don't need to travel. We're missing a decent shoe shop for instance and a decent hardware store too, but are inundated with Estate Agencies, Charity Shops and soon (it would appear), Pizza outlets...
I share your concerns guys. In fact we (the Council) refused planning consent twice on the grounds that it would reduce the retail frontage in the centre of Hedge End below the level we (the Council) specify in the local plan.
Domino's appealed on both occasions, and were successful the second time - basically on the grounds that the landlord had not been able to find a retail tenant in the intervening months.
It's frustrating when we try to do what we know local people would want, only to have it overturned by David Cameron's "big government" inspector who ignored the many letters of objection from local people.
Unfortunately concerns about unfair competition and the impact on a well-loved and unique local business are not valid grounds for refusing planning permission.
This family will be staying loyal to Mr Pizza and we hope most of their existing clientele does too.
I'm very relieved to learn that the Town Council rejected the application, but not surprised that the appeal to a "higher authority" was successful. For what it's worth (and it clearly wasn't worth very much) I was one of those who wrote to object, and I'm very surprised to learn that no alternative tenant could have been found. Had a different kind of food outlet been attracted to the property, I don't think people would have objected so much, but to allow a pizza outlet is just ridiculous. Clearly Domino's business plan assumes a virtual monopoly wherever it operates, and there's only one way they'll get that. Look out for "unbeatable meal deals" until Mr Pizza caves in and closes his doors for the last time.
I thought I heard something on the TV news earlier in the year, to the effect that the planning process was going to be changed so that local people had more influence over what was going on in their communities. I think this specifically related to house-building rather than occupation of shop-units, but we clearly need to have a little more control over what shops exist in the village centre.
As I said earlier, we need Hedge End village centre to be a well balanced retail area, with a good mix and range of shops providing everything that local people will routinely need. There are some noticeable omissions at the moment, but Pizza isn't one of them...!