Comments on Application 23/01025 - The Tower, Ray Mead Road
Part change of use of ground floor and front garden from residential to tea shop / cafe use.
As an organisation we have long supported the creation of a Leisure Strategy for Maidenhead Riverside. This application creates a dilemma. Whilst we wish to see the provision of more leisure / visitor facilities to enhance the Riverside, it is important that those facilities are of a standard that is compatible with, and does not detract from the essentially charming nature of this unique neighbourhood.
Maidenhead Riverside is a Conservation Area and any development or change of use should not detract from the character of what is essentially a predominantly late Victorian / Edwardian residential streetscape. Indeed, The Tower is one of those distinctive buildings that are characteristic of the area. The impact on neighbours of a tea shop in a residential garden should also be considered. A pop up tea shop will add to the range of facilities in the area, but will only appeal to casual customers, since no one will know if and when it is open. Hence, it is not actually an " attraction" - because any decision to visit will be spontaneous. Visitors will be on foot since no parking is provided. On inclement days customers will wish to shelter inside - but because of the "pop up" nature it is unlikely to be open. More information about trading hours / days / seasons would help to clarify the proposals.
It is noted that a toilet is provided to the rear of the ground floor room, and it is assumed that food preparation related health and hygiene will be addressed by the local authority. If permission is granted for change of use then it is to be hoped that the facility is not intended for irregular "pop up" trading only. As stated above such planning applications would be easier to determine in the context of a Riverside Leisure Strategy which we continue to support.