THE entertainment scene in Bridgwater has been given a further boost, thanks to the man who has already brought acts like Blue, 5ive and Shane Ward to the town.
Dan Smith, of SRL Promotions, is celebrating after Sedgemoor planners finally gave the nod to his third and final application for a jazz-blues cafe on the site of the old Bridgwater Bookshop at 18 High Street.
Mr Smith said: “Thank you everyone for your support it's been amazing! Let the work commence.”
The application was previously deferred and then rejected, before finally winning planning consent from Sedgemoor’s Development Control Committee this week.
Lyndon Brett Partnership, which compiled the planning statement, said the previous application was refused “solely reliant on Policy D13, which is based on 30-year-old policy”.
Mr Smith previously said if it did not get approval he would be forced to take the project elsewhere outside of Bridgwater.
Westover councillor Brian Smedley, who has supported the application throughout, said: “For us the town centre is not only the focal point to our ward, it’s also the defining heart of Bridgwater and as such it needs to thrive and develop.
“Planning policies must be flexible enough to encourage the limited number of developers gingerly coming forward. If others see this happening, maybe we can inspire a new generation of entrepreneurs to take up these vacant shops and revitalise our town centre.”
Cllr Leigh Redman, County councillor for Bridgwater South, which includes the town centre, spoke in support saying: “It is clearly a different idea to other cafes and has an extra dimension.
“We should support projects like this and allow our town to grow.”
The venue will be called 'Highway 61'. In the daytime it will serve hot drinks, soft drinks, alcoholic drinks, and lunchtime snacks. After 5.30pm, the venue will change to a jazz, soul, gospel and R&B themed bar.
The proposal was supported eight votes to one with three abstentions.