‘Bland and poorly designed’ proposals to change a once-popular sweet shop on Ryde High Street into a home have been rejected.
The application, submitted by MDJ Architectural Services, has been refused by the Isle of Wight Council after more than 20 Ryde residents shared their opposition to the removal of shop space at the top of the High Street.
Formerly The Candy Store, the shop closed at the start of March last year and proposals looked to incorporate the retail floor space into the existing 2-bed house behind and above the shop.
It would have been turned into a toilet and study, to accommodate home working as a result of the COVID pandemic.
Part of the proposals would change the Victorian building’s shop front ‘to a more traditional appearance’, according to planning documents, with sash-style windows and a regular front door.
Among the objectors were Ryde Town Council, Ryde Society and Ryde Business Association, arguing there would be an adverse effect on the retail function, design, character, vitality and viability of the town centre. Ryde Town Council also said it would be ‘inappropriate’ within a ground-level commercial location and would set a precedent for the change of use in the town centre boundary and in the Ryde Heritage Action Zone.
1 objector said it seemed a ‘barbaric approach to rip out the frontage that has stood for years’ as an integral part of the history and view of the upper High Street.
“Changing the frontage would destroy a very unique shop as well as the building’s look. We need more small high street shops and encourage more people to shop. We need an active and vibrant high street and having houses mixed with the shops just makes it look very odd and out of place.”
The Isle of Wight Council’s planning officers’ report said the proposal would be at odds with the surrounding shopfronts and significantly detract from the distinctive character and vitality of this part of the High Street. They said:
“The current historical and distinctive shopfront would be replaced by a bland, poorly designed ground floor elevation, which would be visually incongruous in the street scene.”
The council’s planning authority rejected the application last week but the applicants are able to appeal the decision to the Planning Inspectorate.