I was in Riley this afternoon chatting with co-owner Shaun Wilson about, amongst other things, the planning threat, recently reported to be looming over their business.
Shaun's very phlegmatic about the situation and is pretty sure the the planning brouhaha is all just a confusion brought about by a misunderstanding. It seems that in part because of the way the Riley planning application was presented and, perhaps in part due to the way it was interpreted, it's been incorrectly assessed.
Riley's application was turned down because the Council judged that the change of use applied for was inappropriate. However, experienced restaurateur Wilson explains he was aware that he would be unlikely to succeed in any application for a change of use to a restaurant so didn't in fact lodge any such application. Instead what he actually applied for was to install a fire exit to the side of the premises and to add new style shop windows.
He feels that one way or another Riley and the Council will be able to reach an amicable settlement.
Good news for Riley's growing band of fans.
Er... I'm a little confused here. Did he apply for a change of use, and should he have done?
Can I propose some caution here. The application made by Mr Riley is quite clear: "Change of use of existing A1 (Shop) to Ice Cream Coffee Bar including alterations to shopfront".
I also suggest that the report by the planning officer (Elizabeth Ennin-Gyasi) is worth reading carefully. This is not because I have a view - one way or another - about Ice Cream Parlours or Mr Riley's business.
It's simply because the Use Classes and the local Planning Policies Ms Ennin-Gyasi refers to, are among the few legal mechanisms local authorities have to set boundaries on different types of businesses; and to promote retail areas with both vitality and viability.
They are also mechanisms which can help protect nearby residential areas. Michelle pointed out the danger from a further proliferation of betting shops.
The residents of Turners Court face a different threat. A renewed attempt by the publicly funded quango The Bridge Renewal Trust - to push through a 100 hour pharmacy under people's homes; as a separate business in the Laurels Health Centre building. This would also be based on an interpretation of the Use Classes. And despite the fact that it was unanimously rejected by the Planning Committee.
(Tottenham Hale ward councillor)
I think you already know the answer to your general question, Hugh. And I'm not going to offer an opinion about a specific Planning Application I haven't read thoroughly; related to premises I haven't visited; and based on Planning Policies I haven't recently reread.
I was making a general point, which could be put another way.
When people like something it's easy to see the Planning Department as petty, nit-picking, bureaucratic, interfering, killjoys and jobsworths. When people dislike something - examples on HoL include betting shops, fast food outlets, social clubs, nail parlours, HMOs, supermarkets, and developers who alter old buildings - it's no surprise when they lambast the Planning Service as ineffective, incompetent, slothful, uncaring etc. etc.
National Planning legislation is far from perfect. But it's what we have to work with. Haringey's Planning Service is even less perfect, and the same applies.
Just because the ice cream is made on site doesn't make it any good; the place is a dump inside; and they opened without planning permission. I'd vote it out. If we could please get an interesting new shop in Crouch End, that isn't a chain or a nail parlour either, that would be very nice.
I'd agree that 'made onsite' doesn't necessarily equate with good, but having tried it twice I'm certainly hooked. It's damned tasty ice cream! But I think I must have gone into an alternative dimension of N8 since the Riley's I was in didn't appear to exhibit dump-like qualities. It was clean, airy, but pretty bland in decor. Unless of course 'bland' is synonymous with 'dump'?
Won't the place shut-down in a few months anyway? Try selling ice cream at £2 a scoop in the Autumn/Winter. In Berlin the ice cream parlours are shut for half the year. Makes you wonder how they stay in business. Probably due to low rents, but I doubt the rent in Crouch End is particularly low, even with a load of empty shops to choose from.
The ice cream was pretty tasty though.