A vegan fast food chain has been barred from opening a new restaurant on Wellfield Road in Cardiff.
Oowee Vegan is already operating in Bristol, Brighton and London, and was planning to open its first restaurant in Wales.
The chain applied for planning permission from Cardiff council to open up on 49 Wellfield Road, currently occupied by the Danish shop Flying Tiger.
But the council’s planning committee refused permission for the change of use on Wednesday, May 19, due to rules protecting Wellfield Road as a shopping centre.
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Council policy dictates that some shopping centres, like Wellfield Road, must have a certain number of shops and not too many restaurants, bars, cafes or takeaways.
Residents living on Bangor Street, adjacent to Wellfield Road, have complained about the changing nature of the street. Particularly since Wellfield Road was made one-way for motor traffic, some residents have complained Bangor Street is now used as a “rat run” instead.
They petitioned the planning committee to refuse permission for the change of use, citing concerns around noise, crime, litter and anti-social behaviour caused by customers of bars, restaurants and takeaways in the evening.
Jinny Jones, a planning agent, spoke on behalf of Bangor Street residents at the committee.
She told councillors that the vegan fast food restaurant would cause “unacceptable harm to the predominant shopping role and character of the centre, and the vitality, viability and attractiveness of Wellfield Road”.
She said: “It’s important that the critical mass of shopping units is maintained.”
Nobody from Oowee Vegan attended the committee meeting to speak about the application.
The chain offers an all-vegan menu with food such as Beyond Meat burgers and loaded fries with gravy and vegan mozzarella. The restaurant would have created 20 jobs, according to planning documents, and would have stayed open until 11pm.
The planning committee voted unanimously to refuse permission. Businesses are split in planning rules into certain classes— A1 means shops while A3 means restaurants and cafes. The council’s local development plan says a certain number of properties in shopping centres must be A1.
Councillor Peter Wong said: “It’s the overall scale of the number of A3s on Wellfield Road that is impacting on local amenity.”