May 24 2013 Latest news:
Max Walters, Reporter
Saturday, May 19, 2012
The owners of Montparnasse in Bridge Road are seeking support
Signatures are being sought for a petition after council chiefs rejected a planning application that would see a café converted into a restaurant.
The owners of Montparnasse, a French café which serves coffee and cakes in Bridge Road, Wembley, wanted to convert their business into a restaurant offering hot meals cooked on site.
But the bid was thrown out by Brent Council, who claim they want to focus on boosting retail on the parade.
Cafe chiefs are calling on the community to add names to their petition.
Martin Francis, Wembley resident and Green Party campaigner, is supporting the café’s campaign, saying it would be a positive change to the area.
He says there are too many chicken and betting shops at the moment.
“The council seems to argue that there is not enough retail on the parade and that restaurants take away from the vibrancy of the shopping street.
“That is not very logical as far as I can see.”
Mr Francis added: “As a local I would welcome a nice French restaurant as a change from chicken shops and betting shops.”
The petition is expected to be handed to the council in the next few months.
In a report prepared by Brent Council outlining their reasons for rejecting the plans, which were submitted in February, it says they were committed to retaining as much retail frontage as possible.
It says: “Overall, it is considered that the proposal will further impact on the vitality and viability of this primary shopping parade and is considered unacceptable.”
It adds that the proportion of non-retail premises in Bridge Road is above 35 per cent and at no point in the road are there more than three retail units in a row.