High Street flats plan approved

A PLANNING application to develop one of the oldest shops in Portishead High Street has been approved after a second appeal.

Steve Fowler of Fowlers Florist has spent tens of thousands of pounds fighting to demolish his existing premises and replace it with a complex comprising three retail units, three commercial units and seven flats.

The 60-year-old who wants to retire on health grounds has spent the last four years working on his proposals, struggling to overcome opposition.

He said: “I have been a retailer in Portishead and a part of this community for 34 years and would not propose anything I believe to be detrimental to the area.

“I started talking to an architect about it in 2006 to try and come up with the best options.”

Mr Fowler says the plans, which include rebuilding the retail outlet in a style in keeping with the neighbouring buildings, will even re-use the existing stone for the shop front.

The first planning application submitted in 2008 was turned down. An appeal was launched, but lost despite addressing the concerns raised about parking and vehicle manoeuvring.

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Mr Fowler went back to the drawing board and submitted a new planning application in 2009, which was also refused and so he launched his final appeal.

He added: “I am relieved and feel that at last justice has been done. I could never understand why the application to develop a site on the other side of High Street was approved when mine wasn’t. There seems to be no consistency.”

In December 2009 planning permission was granted for the construction of a three-storey building containing six flats and a retail unit on the site of a former taxi unit between Budgen’s supermarket and Catherine’s Patisserie, which is opposite Fowlers Florist. The plans offered no parking facilities for the inhabitants but were still approved. The site is currently for sale.