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New application is last hope for Bridgwater jazz cafe
THE man responsible for bringing acts like Blue, 5ive and Shane Ward to Bridgwater is making a last ditch attempt to introduce a jazz cafe into the town.
Dan Smith, of SRL Promotions, has put in a third and final application to Sedgemoor planners for a jazz-blues cafe on the site of the old Bridgwater Bookshop at 18 High Street.
He told the Mercury: “Everybody has been saying to me how much they want to see the plans go through.
“This will be my last attempt and I'm hoping it will be third time lucky. If not, I will be forced to take the project elsewhere outside of Bridgwater.”
Sedgemoor District Council's decision to reject SRL's previous application for the same project in December sparked frustration and anger from music fans, residents and councillors.
The 15 development committee members were split 7-7 for and against before chairman Bob Filmer cast the deciding vote.
Cllr Filmer said the council had been trying to “protect the integrity of the retail areas” and Eastover would benefit more from a project like a jazz cafe than High Street.
Lyndon Brett, chartered surveyor from Lyndon Brett Partnership, which has compiled the planning statement, said the previous application was refused “solely reliant on Policy D13, which is based on 30-year-old policy”.
He added: “High Street retail activity in its true format is clearly on the decline and we believe it is essential that town centres diversify and adapt to the changes in circumstances, mainly in order to retain vitality within the town centre environment.
“We believe that the application case is well founded, soundly based and that consent should be granted.”
The venue would be called 'Highway 61'. In the daytime it would serve hot drinks, soft drinks, alcoholic drinks, and lunchtime snacks. After 5.30pm, the venue would change to a jazz, soul, gospel and R&B themed bar.
Mr Smith added: “This town needs to move forward. There's nothing in Bridgwater anymore and we need to keep up with other towns and move with the modern times.”
Comments can be made online on Sedgemoor's planning website, ref: 08/14/00012.