Former Chinese restaurant that served Cheshire town for 42 years to become apartments

-Credit: (Image: Planning application)
-Credit: (Image: Planning application)

Plans to turn a long-standing former Chinese restaurant into two apartments and an office have been rubber-stamped. The Yuet Ben had served the town of Frodsham for 42 years until its closure on December 31 last year.

Due to the impact of Covid, rising costs and staffing challenges, the owners of the Main Street eatery had been trying to sell the property for more than £400,000 since September 2022, but to no avail. As a result, they lodged a change of use application in August last year with the intention of retiring and making one of the apartments their home.

The planning application, approved by Cheshire West and Chester Council this week, stated: "The building lends itself to this use without significant alterations and whilst allowing escape access from all rooms. The owners have run the Chinese restaurant for 42 years and have found recent years to be a struggle due to Covid, health issues and economic/staffing challenges.

"They are now looking to retire and plan to use one of the units as their home. While the unit is located within the primary shopping frontage of Frodsham, the owners tried to sell since September 2022 without success."

In a report recommending approval, council case officer Aisling Monaghan states: "There is a high possibility that if this application was refused, the unit would become vacant, as it would no longer be viable for the applicant to continue to keep the restaurant running. This is further evidenced by the fact that the Applicant has been trying to sell the unit since September 2022 with no genuine interest.

"Vacant units can harm the health of the centre and impact its vitality and viability. The proposed site has the benefit of not having the character of a traditional shop, as it is raised from the high street and looks residential in nature, therefore, it will have less of an impact than other town centre losses. Therefore, it is considered that on balance the proposed change of use would be acceptable."

The report concludes: "The development is not considered to result in an unacceptable detrimental impact upon the visual character of the application site, wider area and Conservation Area, or impact the residential amenity or parking. It is therefore recommended that planning permission be granted subject to the conditions set out."

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